Water Safety PSA on Fox 16 News



I was honored to be asked to speak in a commercial for the US Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District about water safety on the lakes and rivers of Arkansas.  Jeff Baskin of Fox 16 worked alongside me as we shared a message about wearing life jackets while enjoying the water.  The PSA will be on Fox 16 leading up to the Labor Day holiday weekend.











The last couple of years I have been focused on getting my high school diploma, starting a college academic career, working at my fabulous job as a Fundraising consultant for Krispy Kreme and enjoying life with my family and wonderful boyfriend.  Even though I have not been in the pageant scene, I have taken my platform to many places though out the past couple of years.  I frequently have organizations call for a presentation and people I’ve worked with before have asked me to come back and talk to the  new classes and groups.  My platform was much more that just a way to promote myself in the pageant arena but my platform is my family’s heart.  We lost a big part of us fourteen years ago in June 2003 and what happened to us that day changed our future forever.  My mom and I have connected with a larger part of the drowning community.  It’s just sad to even say, the drowning community.  But that is exactly what it is.  We are members of a small number of families who have formed an organization called “Families United Against Drowning”.  Every family in this organization has had a loss of a child.  While our loss wasn’t one of a child, our loss was my daddy and my mom’s husband, my dad was a child of Joe and Joann Brindley.  He was their only child.  In the legacy of his family, Ken was the only son left young enough to carry on their name (which “Kenyon” is a name of an uncle who died heroically in World War 2 as a bombardier).  Now, my brother, Blake Kenyon Brindley who is 17, will hopefully one day have a son.  Joe and Joann Brindley are now 90 years old and live in our city.  We love them dearly and they are so proud of Ken and the work that my family has done to help prevent drownings.

I’m sharing this with you, who were once following my pageant career, in hopes that you will now follow the activities of the “community” my family is a part of.  I’d like to switch this website over to one of drowning prevention awareness and resources which are available to people in their communities.  I wanted you to know that I miss my dad everyday.  The friends I’ve made through these sad losses have touched me and my mom very deeply.  We know their pain and in the end it doesn’t matter “how” someone drown, what matters is that they are gone forever from something which could have  been prevented.  Please continue to follow my posts and know that my mom and I are working to prevent anyone we know becoming part of this group of families.  #notonemoredrowing  “Families United Against Drowning”

I will be working the next couple of weeks to update and rearrange things on this website.  When we set it up a long time ago, it was mainly to keep social media updates on my pageant work.  I’ve connected these posts with my mother’s Facebook account so she can share the new update content as well.  Hopefully by the end of June my mom and I can have this website changed over to display new information.  Thank you to everyone who has ever supported me and I encourage you to reach out to those who boat, swim and enjoy the water and share something you’ve learned from reading my past or future posts.







Honor Connor; the LV Project

Today I want to share with you about the LV Project.  I have copied the following from their website which I encourage you to view through the link above.  I met Dana Gage, Connor’s mother at the National Water Safety Alliance conference last fall.   I immediately felt a connection to her because her son, Connor, would have been my age.  I shared Connor’s story and the LV Project’s mission at the Faulkner County Library Back to School Bash recently.  I hope I made a difference in how people think about life jacket use on lakes and rivers.  Honor Connor today by reading through the LV website.

hi. we are the Gages.

On August 31, 2012, we lost our son and brother, Connor, in a drowning accident. We let Connor go to the lake, and he didn’t come home. In an instant, we went from a happy family of four, to a broken family of three. So now, our life is about buoyancy. To honor Connor’s life, we created The LV Project.

what does LV mean?

The hardest part of knowing Connor is gone is knowing he could – and should – still be here. Had Connor been wearing a life vest, he would be alive. For us personally, LV stands for Life Vest. We believe life vests on lakes should be like seat belts in cars. A must. But, Connor’s life was so full of joy, we couldn’t just leave it at that. This can’t be just about how Connor died. It has to be about how he lived. Connor was funny, happy, silly, full of life. Connor was only on this earth for 15 years. And every single year, he lived BUOYANTLY.

buoyancy. on lakes and in life.

Everyone needs a lift at times. Buoyancy means we are pulled to the surface – by a force stronger than our own – where there’s fresh air, and light, and freedom. We want to help people be buoyant, not just on lakes, but in life. That’s what The LV Project is about. We think Connor would like that.

While it’s easy to think it will never happen to us, these are real stories from survivors of accidents on the water.  Texas Parks & Wildlife




Awards Ceremony

Wednesday was the day that the Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District, held a ceremony to present me with the award from the National Water Safety Congress.   This award was announced on March 31st in Sandestin, Fl and my family was unable to attend.  I am so honored to receive this recognition for my efforts of water safety here in Arkansas.  I connected with the National Water Safety Congress through the Corps of Engineers here in Arkansas.   The Corps of Engineers have been very kind to invite me to all sorts of water safety events and I’m so happy they include me.  Unknown to my mom and me, the Corps gave us awards as well and also recognized my mother who works just as hard as I do.   They also gave us a “mini billboard” just like the billboard my family is pictured on around Arkansas lakes and rivers.   They have been very good to us.  The ceremony was wonderful with about 30 people in attendance.  Below is a copy of the press release in which I thank Sonja Keith for writing.

News release   3-28-15

Conway student to receive national award

Madeline Brindley was recognized this week with a national award for her efforts to promote boating and water safety.

Madeline was only 6 years old when her father died after heroically saving a young boy from drowning. Today, the Conway teen is also reaching out to help others by increasing awareness of water safety as a spokesperson and the author of a children’s book.

The award ceremony took place March 31 with an Award of Merit by the National Water Safety Congress at the 19th International Boating and Water Safety Summit in Sandestin, Fla. The Family of Ken Brindley also received a letter of commendation.

In 2003, the Brindley Family — Ken and Melanie and their two children, Madeline and Blake — was on vacation in Florida when a 12-year-old boy and his boogie board were taken seaward by rough water conditions, and his father experienced difficulty during a rescue attempt.

Ken, 36, and others swam out for the victims. The boy was saved and the rescuers attempted to remove the boy’s father, who had been overcome in the water, but conditions were too rough. Ken, too, was overcome. The father drowned, and Ken was taken to the hospital, where he died two days later, also of drowning.

Madeline works to increase water safety awareness in a variety of ways — from designating water safety as her platform as Miss Conway Outstanding Teen 2014 and Miss Teen Arkansas  International 2015 to volunteering as the community director for Arkansas for the Drowning Prevention Foundation. She also works closely with the Corps of Engineers to present programs at local schools and help with other events. In addition, she has written and self-published a children’s book, The Royals Go to the Beach.

Madeline has worked with the Arkansas governor and Conway mayor to have proclamations signed to designate May as “Drowning Prevention Month” in both 2014 and 2015 along with organizing various community activities for that month.

Drowning ranks fifth among accidental deaths in the U.S. Every day, approximately 10 people drown, and of that number, two are children ages 14 and younger. For every child who dies, another five require emergency care. “These tragedies don’t just happen in pools or spas,” Madeline said. “They can happen anywhere water is involved.”

For more information, contact Melanie Brindley or visit and




Safer 3 Foundation


Picture 1 of 1

One foundation that has been very helpful to me is the Safer 3 Water Safety Foundation.  This organization has sent me resources that I have used over the past few years in my work here in Arkansas schools to help teach about water safety.  Most of these national organizations and non profits I have only talked with through phone calls and emails through my connection as the Arkansas Community Director for the Drowning Prevention Foundation.  However, though my attendance at educational conferences, I get to actually meet the people and spend time discussion how I’ve utilized their curriculum in my state. The Safer 3 curriculum has been a hit with the school children in Arkansas.   I’m so lucky to have found them and that they support my work here in Arkansas.  Below is a summary of the Safer 3 Water Safety Foundation’s mission:

The Safer 3 Water Safety Foundation is an organization dedicated to saving lives through drowning prevention and water safety education.We believe that an ongoing, year-round, educational campaign is necessary in order to significantly reduce the number of drowning incidents, not only in the United States, but around the world. Drowning IS preventable… Follow the Safer 3

Our Vision: A world without drowning.

Our Mission:  Save lives through water safety education

Our Goals:

  • Raise awareness of drowning risks.

  • Educate the public about the three elements common to every drowning: Water, People, Response.

  • Develop and provide resources to reduce the risk.

  • Create a global network of partners and Safer 3 messengers.


Sallie Cone Preschool Presentation

Another wonderful day with some sweet preschool students!  Now that the weather is warming up and swimming pools are about to open, it is the perfect time to teach them some water safety.

Here are the 5 steps to being Wise Water Safe:

  • Learn to swim or float
  • Obey posted signs and flags
  • Swim with adult supervision and a buddy
  • Wear a life jacket
  • Follow the Reach, Throw, Row and Go procedures for rescue

Everyday in America approximately 10 people drown and out of these, two are children aged 14 and under.   I hope by being Wise Water Safe, we can reduce that number.  Remember, over 80% of drowning deaths could be prevented by putting on a life jacket.  That is why I take life jackets into the classroom and show proper fitting.


Life Jacket Billboard Campaign

“Boat Smart from the Start – Wear Your Life Jacket” is the motto of the National Safe Boating Council, and it’s good advice. Having a life jacket on while you are boating could very well save your life.  My family and I were part of the  Army Corps of Engineers’ life jacket billboard campaign.  These are placed around lakes and highways in Arkansas and will hopefully make a difference in the percentage of people who will wear a life jacket the next time they are around the beautiful lakes and rivers of our state.

  •  Wear Coast Guard approved life jackets when around water, most people do not expect to end up in the water and of those who drown, were not wearing a life jacket.
  • Make sure life jackets are readily accessible, whether you are on your own boat or someone else’s. They should not be locked away or stored in hard-to-reach places.
  • Check the fit.  Weight and size information for the wearer should appear on the jacket’s label. Also, have someone pull up on the shoulders of a life jacket that is on to make sure it fits snugly; your chin, head and neck should not slip through.
  • Put your life jacket on before get in the water. If you fall in the water without one, it will be very hard to get it on while you are trying to float or swim.

REMEMBER – It is everyone’s responsibility to be safe on the water.  90% of people who drown are not wearing a lifejacket.  Don’t be a statistic.  Wear your lifejacket!