2023 Press Releases All Stories

WCSU Marketing major saves two lives on summer break, and wins American Red Cross Award

Aiden Mulligan-Brown
Aiden Mulligan-Brown
Aiden Mulligan-Brown

DANBURY, CONN. — When Aiden Mulligan-Brown, a former competitive swimmer and Western Connecticut State University sophomore, heard that Lynn Deming Park in New Milford needed lifeguards for the summer, he jumped into the opportunity three seasons ago. It’s no wonder then that he fearlessly ran into the water in the summer of 2022 to save two swimmers who were drowning. And while saving two lives was most important, Mulligan-Brown was honored to receive a prestigious Red Cross award for his efforts.

On that fateful day, Mulligan-Brown sprang into action without hesitation to save a drowning father and his toddler. Fast forward nearly a year, and he received the American Red Cross Lifesaving Award for Professional Responders for his heroic feat.

While he was a bit nervous when training for lifesaving scenarios, Mulligan-Brown said he felt very prepared when actually pulling the distressed swimmers out of danger. “I felt very confident going in with my abilities to retrieve them. After the fact the adrenaline didn’t leave my body for hours. I felt that I could have done it over and over,” Mulligan-Brown said.

Mulligan-Brown is a strong and experienced swimmer; he swam with the New Milford Barracudas for 10 years and then was a varsity swimmer for all four years with the New Milford High School team. This summer was his third working as a lifeguard at Lynn Deming Park. Mulligan-Brown earned his lifeguard certification at New Milford Sports Club, and noted that he and his fellow lifeguards practice their skills weekly.

So when Mulligan-Brown and other lifeguards noticed that a father and his 2-year old son seemed to be “weak swimmers” and saw them begin to struggle in the water and then their heads bob, he alerted others and ran into the water to bring the father and son to the beach. Others provided him some help with his rescue.

Besides being able to save two lives, and watch carefully over hundreds more, the rewards of his efforts include the Red Cross award and the recognition that came with it. “Receiving the award was such an amazing experience and has opened more opportunities for me,” said Mulligan-Brown. He hopes his experience, the award and publicity will help attract others to become lifeguards, especially now that there has been a continuous shortage in the area.

As summer ends and fall begins, Mulligan-Brown returns to WCSU to pursue his Marketing degree and make plans to work in the business world, where his degree and award will hold water.


Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.