New Life for Hazleton’s ‘Lifeguard on the Roof’

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HAZLETON-- When Mark Laputka called Newswatch 16 last year he was fed up.

The statue from the 1964 World's Fair that sat outside his pool store on North Cedar Street had been vandalized once again.

"The Lifeguard's" fiberglass arm was severed.

Laputka blamed kids from the neighborhood and didn't mince his words.

He said in 2016, "Teach your kids not to be idiots!" But when our camera was there something special happened. "Those darn kids" consoled the businessman with a message for their peers.

"Just apologize, maybe that would help!" Vanessa Hernandez said.

Her sister Gabby added, "Say sorry and don't ever do it again."

At the time, Laputka's hurt feelings were healed but what about "The Lifeguard?"

When we last saw him he was sitting on a white wooden chair, arm dangling. A year later, the old guy has a new look. Arm mended, he sits on the roof, out of harm's way, a touch of whimsy on the Hazleton skyline.

"We have securely put him on there a hurricane is not going to pull him off there, it would have to take off the roof," Laputka said.

Now the kids on the corner think the old guy's pretty cool.

"I always look at his smiling face, thinking of all the kids he brought joy too," Isiah Vaugh said.

Angela Pena muses, "I like it that he watches all the cars go by," adding that the lifeguard also looks over her and her friends.

They are words that make the owner of Dr. Feelgoode's, well, feel good.

The store is having a contest to give the statue a new name, with a prize of a gift certificate worth 100 dollars. To enter you need to fill out a form at the store in Hazleton. The competition will run through the summer.


  • Rurbanite

    “Teach you kids not to be idiots!” “…thinking of all the kids he brought joy too.” “we have securely put him there a hurricane is not going to pull him off there, it would have to take off the roof.” I think WNEP should teach its reporters some grammar and punctuation skills.

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