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Monday September 22, 2014
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Gayle Hurn

 

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smile and lending a hand here and there.

Wearing shorts and a Parks and Rec T-shirt, Hurn cuts a distinctive figure, with tattoos on both arms, her nose and eyelids pierced, and her baby son strapped to her back. Though the newly filled pool sparkles blue and green, the water temperature is a cool sixty degrees. "Come back when we're open" after Memorial Day, Hurn says. "It will be a lot warmer."

Hurn, thirty-six, started working for the parks system as an eighteen-year-old EMU freshman, skating around the Buhr Park ice rink to make sure visitors were behaving themselves. "I wasn't even a good skater," she recalls. She worked part time through college and grad school, with some breaks, like the three or four months she worked as a barmaid in Australia. Five years ago, to her delight, she was hired full-time. She now runs Fuller during the summer, and the indoor Mack Pool during the school year. Hundreds of local swimmers know her by sight, and two girls who started taking swimming lessons with her in elementary school now work for her as lifeguards.

Both a lifeguard and a certified pool manager, Hurn says Fuller "attracts lots of lap swimmers and college students. We want to be more family friendly." Last year, she introduced log rolling, a sport where kids and adults try to keep their balance on floating, synthetic "logs," and movie showings that kids can watch from the water. This year, Parks and Rec is adding barbecues at Fuller to encourage family picnics.

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