Dougherty County coroner encourages kids to ‘Swim for Life’

About 322 children took swimming lessons last year through Dougherty County Coroner Michael Fowler’s “Swim for Life” program. (FILE PHOTO/Albany Herald)

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About 322 children took swimming lessons last year through Dougherty County Coroner Michael Fowler’s “Swim for Life” program. (FILE PHOTO/Albany Herald)

Dealing with death is a large part of a coroner’s job, but in Dougherty County, Coroner Michael Fowler is making efforts to reduce the number of death certificates he has to sign and the grieving families he has to inform of the loss of a loved one.

Fowler has produced an anti-suicide video and spoken against violence in the past, and he urgently pleaded with the public to wear masks and get vaccinated during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And for the fifth year, he’s dug into his own pockets, and also received donations from other individuals and groups, to fund “Swim for Life,” a program that teaches children to swim.

It’s an effort to prevent drownings, and children 3 and up are eligible to participate in the program this summer.

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“We have had no kids to drown since we started this,” Fowler said. “A lot of times kids can’t afford it. We raised money for all the kids to go to swimming lessons this week. Last time we had about 322 kids to sign up.”

The coroner enlisted three organizations to give swimming lessons, and he will present checks to each of them this week based on the number of children that registered.

“I kind of partnered with the Y, Boys & Girls Club and (Albany) Recreation Department,” he said. “They agreed to do it for $20 a kid. We’re encouraging the kids to learn to swim.

“That gives them something to do during the summer, too, instead of getting into trouble.”


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Credit: Albany Herald

Credit: Albany Herald

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