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Four San Diego lifeguards to receive lifesaving medal for daring rescue

Four San Diego lifeguards are set to receive the U.S. Lifesaving Assn.'s Medal of Valor for rescuing six fishermen after their boat capsized in heavy waves at the entrance to Mission Bay.

Mark Feighan, Daryl McDonald, Peter Liebig, and Sgt. Jon Vipond will receive the award Wednesday at a ceremony at Hospitality Point on Mission Bay. Only 32 lifeguards have received the medal since it was authorized in 1987.

The lifeguards responded on Nov. 29, 2009, when the 29-foot sportfishing vessel Defiance capsized in large surf in the Mission Bay Channel. Waves were estimated at 20 feet and the water a chilly 62 degrees.

Five of the fishermen were plucked from the water, including one who appeared to be going under.  The sixth had managed to swim to the rocks but was being battered by waves.

The Medal of Valor is awarded in instances when lifeguards put their lives in extreme peril to make a rescue.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

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