Rees Specht School Assembly Letter


As the summer winds down and temperatures begin to drop, our time in and around the water begins its yearly waning. Before we know it, beach blankets and suntan lotion will be replaced with book bags and glue sticks. But, just because we may be leaving the water-fun behind us, that doesn’t mean it’s time to forget about water safety.

According to the CDC drowning remains the number one cause of accidental death of all children aged 1-4 and is the number two overall cause of accidental death of all children, period. Sadly, as myself and my family discovered six years ago, drowning doesn’t just happen in the summer months. It can happen at any time, near any body of water in as little as 2 inches of water.

We lost our 22-month-old little boy, Richard Edwin-Ehmer Specht (Rees for short), to an accidental drowning on October 27th, 2012. A simple miscommunication between my friend and I is all it took for him to wander off and fall into our 18-inch-deep pond and drown. The sad truth is that it wasn’t really the pond that sealed my son’s fate, rather it was my ignorance of all the aspects of water safety.

I never knew that children can (and should) start swim lessons as young as three months old. Both my wife and I were under the false impression that swim lessons should start at 2 years old. Rees was scheduled to start his lessons only 2 months from when he died: 2 months too late. The simple truth is that had I been armed with the knowledge I have today, my son would have started his lessons well before that fateful day and the outcome would have been different.

I cannot change the past, but we can make sure that no other families suffer our tragedy. Starting in the 2018-2019 School Year, in addition to our successful “Cultivate Kindness” school assembly programs, the ReesSpecht Life Foundation will be offering our “ReesSpecht the Water” water safety assembly programs for grades k-2 and 3-6. I will personally be presenting these all-new programs and we will offer a discounted “2 for 1” deal for any school that books either program.

With your help, we can help Cultivate Kindness and teach children all over Long Island to ReesSpecht the Water. The time has come for us to End Drowning Now. For more information on our programs, head to or

Rees Specht School Assembly Letter bottom




All Saf-T-Swim Locations will be closed until further notice. For more information, CLICK HERE