How a video lured a Montana student to the island
While watching videos about Hurricane Harvey on his computer from Montana, Joshua Bailey came across a video of Galveston Island Beach Patrol helping law enforcement officials in the aftermath of the storm.
Bailey, 20, had visited the island in June last year and Galveston had made an impression on him, he said. But the video solidified his attachment.
“They were working with the police departments to save people,” Bailey said. “I thought it was really cool.”
Now, some seven months later, Bailey watches over tourists and islanders from his perch on the seawall as a member of the Galveston Island Beach Patrol.
“It’s a mix of everything that I’ve done to this point,” Bailey said. “But it’s an opportunity to be part of something bigger than myself. I love every bit of it.”
Bailey moved to the area about three months ago and graduated from rookie school in March, he said.
“I love walking down the seawall,” Bailey said. “Visitors are always asking me questions, but in many ways, I still feel like a tourist myself.”
Bailey’s young life has experienced many twists and turns and career changes, but all of the movement has brought him to this point — living near the water and doing something that he loves, he said.
“Here, I’m not thinking about what comes next,” Bailey said. “Now, I’m thinking about how I can be the best lifeguard that I can be. This seems like a permanent place.”
Bailey was born in Nebraska and spent time in Oklahoma and California before most recently living in Montana while studying biology and later working on an Emergency Medical Technician certification.
It was while studying for the certification that Bailey first felt the call of the Texas coast.
“Nothing had really clicked until then,” Bailey said. “I’ve always loved water and decided, ‘OK, I’m going to be an ocean lifeguard.’”
The decision came after an official told him the goal was to save the greatest number of people, and that he didn’t have training to save someone who was drowning in the water, he said.
His move to Galveston allowed him to combine his love of medicine and the sea and gave him an opportunity to fish, explore and learn more about the water, he said.
Bailey, who lives in La Marque, spends his free time training for his job and fishing around Galveston County, he said.
He hopes to learn more about the region he has come to call home, he said.
“When I look out at the open water, I see limitless options, both in life and in terms of study,” Bailey said.