Michael Petrella ISR Certified Master Instructor
Merlot, Dad, Bearenger
My ISR Story: In October of 2007, my father sent me the video of Miles, the toddler in the blue cotton jumper that falls into the water and then rolls back to float, and maintains his float for five minutes, fully clothed. I was absolutely amazed that a 14 month old child could save himself from drowning. Having a backyard pond and a 2 year old that couldn't swim lead me directly to the ISR national website. At the time, I noticed there were no ISR Instructors in Michigan and the nearest Instructor was Cindy Favorite, located in Toledo, OH. I came to the conclusion that I would not be able to enroll my daughter, Merlot, in the aquatic survival lesson due to the three hour drive, each way. Seeing a need for this important program in Michigan, I began to research becoming an ISR instructor. In April of 2008, I became the first Certified ISR Instructors in Michigan.
In May of 2012 I became a Master Instructor. This allows me to teach other instructors, and special needs student, thus reaching more children. In January of 2016 I will train my first two Team Instructors to work with ISR Grand Rapids to reach more young lives before they reach the water alone.
By the way, after just six weeks of lessons, Merlot swam the length of the YMCA lap pool! She now enjoys diving down to ten feet and snorkeling. She loves the water, but more importantly, she respects the water.
About Me: I live in Allendale, MI with my wife, Wendy, and two daughters, 17 year old Bearenger and 12 year old Merlot. Bearenger is a member of the Junior Company at the Grand Rapids Ballet Company. Merlot is a 2nd degree black belt at Lakeshore Taekwondo Academy in Grand Haven. I highly recommend both of these companies for your child. I was born and raised in a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania in 1992 with a BS in Business Management. Just out of college, I began work with Wal-Mart as a Store Manager and worked in 11 different towns in 11 1/2 years, including six months in Canada. I was the Store Manager of the Grandville, MI Wal-Mart from November of 2000 to February of 2003. In July of 2004, I retired from Wal-Mart and started my own retail merchandising company, Platinum Service - Detail For Retail, LLC that I still own.
I can't think of anything else I would rather be doing with my life than teaching children ISR’s Self-Rescue®! It is the most rewarding work I have ever performed.
We look forward to hearing from you and answering any questions you may have.
Lisa Johnson ISR Certified Instructor
My ISR Story: In the early summer of 2013 I was at a neighbor’s pool with my 3 sons for the first time of the season. My oldest was 6 at the time, and had been swimming well unassisted at the end of the previous summer. Feeling confident, he decided to jump into the deep end of the pool for his first time in over 6 months. While 3 adults, myself included, watched him, he jumped in deep, resurfaced, then started trying to “swim”. But when he wasn’t able to even tread water because his skills were not adequate or automatic...panic struck! He silently went under again and when it was clear he couldn’t resurface all 3 adults were bolting to save him. Another mother reached him within moments, and he suffered nothing more than some swallowed pool water and a bruised ego. However, the incident struck fear in my heart at the realization of just how quickly things can go wrong...even with 3 pairs of adult eyes zoned in on the same child! Had all the other kids been in the pool, or if the 3 of us were talking instead of watching, who knows when we would have noticed he was drowning. It was almost immediate and silent!! The following summer a friend put her 11 month old thru ISR lessons and the results shocked me. Her baby could save his own life when my 6 year old, who could swim, almost drowned because he panicked! Amazingly, my son did not fear the water, but learned to respect it and joined the swim team at age 7. The next fall 2015 I put my other two sons (6 & 4), and my daughter (2) through ISR lessons and absolutely fell in love with the program, it’s mission, effectiveness and the consistent results. In only 4 weeks, all of my children were completely skilled and able to self-rescue! The peace of mind I felt was indescribable. I was hooked, and convinced EVERY child deserves to learn to swim & survive! I became a certified ISR Instructor in February of 2016. Living in a lakeshore community, I’ve seen my share of water related tragedies that could have been prevented! My mission now is to do everything in my power to thwart the heartbreak I’ve watched too many parents endure and give as many babies and toddlers these life-saving skills!
About Me: I live in Grand Haven, MI with my husband, Ryan and our four children, Tracen(9), Turner(7), Truett(4), and Trinley(2). I was born and raised in West Michigan and have a BSE degree in International Engineering from Calvin College. After much world travel and graduating, I worked as an Industrial Engineer at Gentex Corporation for 5 years. But babies and toddlers are my passion! I absolutely LOVE kids!! And in 2008 I was blessed to be able to stay at home with my own children. I have cherished so many opportunities I’ve had with them and can’t wait to continue pouring into not only their lives, but into the lives of the little ones I have the privilege of teaching Self-Rescue skills.
Rebekah Milito ISR Certified Instructor
My ISR Story: In 2013 my 1st daughter was born. She is a little ball of fire. Eager to see, do and learn all she can as fast as she can. She was crawling by 5 months old and I knew she was going to keep me on my toes. I saw an ISR video of a little boy crawling outside and falling in the pool after a toy and watched in amazement as he turned over and floated!! We lived on a lake full time and it always concerned me that she would get away from me and that’s where I would find her. The closest lessons were a 50 minute drive one way, but I had to take her for my peace of mind. My husband was skeptical about the lessons and the cost but after the first week his words were “totally worth every penny”! So at 8 months old she learned how to float on her own. I was hooked on ISR. Watching my little girl learn how to self-rescue was amazing! ISR gave us peace of mind knowing that we had given her everything she needed for “just in case”. Our 2nd daughter came in 2014 and she also went through lessons at 7 months. We are very active water people and ISR is the best part of that. Both of our daughters know how to swim and float and that they don’t get in the water without mom or dad. I love watching each of my children explore the world around them.
About Me: I live in Jenison, MI with my husband Vincent and our 2 daughters Ameila (5) and Eliora (3). My son Dante’ (20) is attending MCTI in Plainwell for an associates in Graphic Communications. I have worn a lot of hats over the years. I cleaned houses and drove a horse and buggy while giving historical tours in Fort Scott, Ks as an 11 year old girl. I was in food service for 15 years with 1 of those in management. I was a stay at home mom for 3 years with Dante’. I was cleanup crew for my dad’s construction company, most of which was roofing. Currently I work full time for the post office in Hudsonville and now teach ISR swim lesson for a couple of hours in the afternoon. When the opportunity presented itself to become a part of the ISR Grand Rapids team I took it! Teaching babies and young children how to self-rescue is so rewarding and I am so thankful I get to be a part of it!
There is no such thing as 'drown proof'! Watch your child around the water!