Daughter of father who drowned is featured, shares her story

For Immediate Release

June 29, 2017

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office is undertaking a signature project focused on water safety during the coming months, starting with a mini-documentary featuring the daughter of a man who died in a rip current.

Ken Brindley of Arkansas was an athletic, beloved 37-year-old married father of two when he jumped in the waters off Grayton Beach to join several others in an attempt to save another father and his son stuck in rip current, yelling for help.

His daughter, Madeline Brindley, now a senior at the University of Central Arkansas, is featured in the film. She was 6 years old in 2003 when her father was rescued. He was transported to the hospital, and on life-support for two days. The man he was trying to save drowned.

Walton County established lifeguard stations along the beaches in 2006.

Madeline Brindley has become widely recognized as a champion of water safety of all types—and wrote a children’s book to help spur families to talk about the issue.

“The video is powerful, moving, and very valuable,” Sheriff Adkinson said. “Every family that resides here or visits Walton County’s beautiful beaches needs to sit down and watch it together, and then talk in-depth about it.”

Sheriff Adkinson said he’s becoming increasingly concerned about the safety of those called in to do water rescues.

“We have our law enforcement and public safety officials risking their lives more and more due to these rescue calls—and so many are preventable because people are ignoring the flag system that I honestly have become very frustrated,” said Sheriff Michael A. Adkinson, Jr. “Therefore, we are initiating serious attention during the coming months to tackle what is a serious issue—and in order to protect the men and women serving in uniform as well. I would like for both local residents and visitors to help us in a full-court press on this initiative.”

The film was produced by WCSO Special Policy Projects Manager Kelly Layman, in cooperation with Sky Pro Imaging.

“This is an incredible young woman, and a courageous family,” Layman said. “As a community, we are indebted to them for sharing their story in an effort to prevent future tragedies. Most of all, Madeline is proof positive of the sheer impact one young person can make.”

As a high school student and as part of her pageantry platform for Miss Teen Arkansas, Madeline received tremendous community attention for her personal testimony in front of many groups, plus thousands of hours devoted to water safety community events across the Midwest. She also worked closely with the Army Corps of Engineers in Arkansas on lake and boating safety campaigns.

The film was made utilizing the Sheriff’s portion of County tourist development bed tax.