First person: Safety first

CNJ staff photo: Kevin Wilson Jesse Walthers, a Texico native and lifeguard at the Clovis Wellness Center, plans to join the Army. He has been a lifeguard since he was 15 years old.

When Jesse Walthers is on the clock, his main duty is to make sure people don’t drown. In his next line of work, he’s taking on another safety challenge.

Walthers, a lifeguard at the Clovis Wellness Center and a 2008 Texico High graduate, plans to leave his post soon to join the Army, where he looks to specialize in explosive ordnance disposal.

Growing up: I was born here in Clovis in 1989 — Oct. 16. I’ve lived in Texico all my life. I like the community a lot. There are a lot of good people. You go somewhere and you know them. I have a lot of good friends growing up there and a good church family.

High school sports: I played football, basketball, baseball. My favorite sport was baseball, but football and baseball were about the same. My favorite season would have to be my freshman year, when I got to start in baseball. We won the state championship. We got to play at Isotopes Stadium, and it was pretty amazing. It made me feel small. It’s nice; it made me feel important.

When I was growing up, I had asthma. When I started sports in junior high, it just went away.

Getting his feet wet: Growing up, there was a pool in Texico. When I saw the lifeguards there, I thought that was a good job. I’ve been a lifeguard since I was 15. When I took the class, I really liked the first aid and knowing how to do CPR. Also, swimming is a great workout as well.

Toughest part: Having to get on the people. We have to do our job as a lifeguard and enforce the rules. People don’t understand why we do it. It’s for their safety; there are a million things that can go wrong in a pool.

Why the Army: My grandpa (Bill Walthers) passed away — I never knew him that well, but I knew he served in World War II. There were a lot of people on my dad’s side of the family that I didn’t really know who had served in the military.

One of the great things about being a lifeguard is I get to use the pool whenever I want when I’m not clocked in. I can train myself and get ready for what I’m going to face in basics. It’s a good cardio workout.

Picking EOD: I know you’ve got to be paying attention. You can’t let stuff from the outside influence you. I’m going to have to be hitting the books for a year for this job.

— Compiled by CNJ staff writer Kevin Wilson