After tragedy, Lincoln family continues to help thousands learn water safety

By: Bill Schammert

This June, it’ll be six years since the accidental death of Joshua Collingsworth. At two-and-a-half years old he drowned in his family pool.

“We thought we had all the things in place to protect our son with the pool,” his mother Kathy said. “But, it was just a false sense of security.”

In that time of despair, the Collingsworth family says they put Joshua to work from up above.  Drowning is the number one cause of death in children four and under, now the family is trying to change that statistic. They started the Joshua Collingsworth Memorial Foundation.

Monday, May 5th was Otter Spotter Day. Started by the family, it’s a tradition picked up in 38 states and four countries to teach children about water safety. 

“We really want to get out there and create awareness,” Kathy said. 

And that they have. In the last six years, the Collingsworth’s say hundreds of thousands of kids have heard the story of Joshua, and their children’s book, “Josh The Otter.” They’ve also started the Float 4 Life program which teaches toddlers and young children in Nebraska and throughout the country how to float – possibly saving their lives in dangerous situations.

“He’s making a difference and saving other people from having this devastating thing happen to their families,” Kathy said. 

Now, the family is gearing up for their biggest weekend of the year, the annual auction and benefit. Debbie Phelps, mother of all-time Olympic medal count leader, Michael Phelps, will be the keynote speaker. The event is Saturday, May 10th at the Sesostris Shrine Center in Roca. 

Phelps will hold a public book signing at 4:00 p.m. where anyone attending can also bid on some of the dozens of auction items. 

Blake and Kathy Collingsworth say they expect to raise about $80,000 for the Joshua Collingsworth Memorial Foundation. 

More information on the event can be bound by clicking here.