Shayn Szlak: To the Rescue!


Senior Shayn Szlak is working to fulfill his dream: saving lives as a firefighter.

By Sam Galanopoulos, Sports Editor

Ever since senior Shayn Szlak could walk, he’s been around the firehouse. Whether he was on the ladder or spraying the hose at anyone that got too close, first-responders have always had a very special place in his heart.

With his father being a firefighter, that inspired Szlak when he decided what he wanted to be when he was older: a paramedic.

“Ever since I was little, I have always looked up to my dad. He is such a great man and I have always wanted to be like him when I grew up. He’s a firefighter and it’s crazy to think the demands that his job brings every day,” Szlak said. “Growing up around his work, it has become a major part of my life. I want to be a paramedic and be able to impact the lives of others. Whether it’s a simple call or I’m rescuing someone in a severe accident, it’s what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Being such a natural at the job, Szlak knew it was his calling. Along with himself, his father, Sean Szlak, was very pleased and proud of Szlak’s decision to pursue this career.

“I’m really proud of Shayn. When he was a kid, he was always around the firehouse goofing off. All of the guys love him and he’s pretty known in the first-response world. When he mentioned that he wanted to be a paramedic, I was very touched because I showed him the importance of this job. He takes every day with stride and is a natural,” Sean Szlak said.

The Szlak family aren’t the only ones who are interactive within their community’s services. Many families close to them are either police officers, city hall members, or public works people. But for Szlak, everyone knows this is what he is meant to do. Growing up in Morton Grove with his best friends, no one understands Szlak’s want to do this more than them.

Senior and longtime close friendĀ Sammie Simkins had a lot to say about Szlak finalizing his plans and training to be a paramedic.

“Everyone knows Shayn is the perfect fit for the job. His dad being a firefighter has definitely lit a path for him to want to do the same thing. Since he is very active in sports and the community, I don’t think anyone is more prepared and willing to do it than him,” Simkins said. “Just the way Shayn talks about the job and everything that comes with it, he seems to really be in deep of knowing what he wants to do.”

Along with Simkins, senior and best friendĀ Sean Eslick was in agreement that Szlak has found his home.

“Shayn is the perfect guy for the job. Ever since we were little, he’d go to work with his dad or be around the firehouse. He is physically capable, smart, and he is extremely selfless; all characteristics you need to have for the job. Aside from that, he is a really hard worker and he’ll thrive at anything he sets his mind to,” Eslick said.

It takes a very special person to be willing to sacrifice their life daily for the betterment of others. Doing that duty every day as well, everyone expects that to be the easiest transition for Szlak since he already has such a selfless mantra.

“Shayn is extremely selfless. For an 18-year-old boy who is a senior in high school, his thoughtfulness is undeniable. He makes a conscious effort to be a good person, impact others, and just overall make people feel good. This is a characteristic that has been embedded in Shayn since birth and I can’t wait to watch him express it on a daily basis,” Sean Szlak said.

After Szlak completes paramedic school, you will be able to then see him behind the wheel, saving lives. Whenever you are in a time of need, want a good pick-me-up, or simply want to take a hot ride, Szlak is your guy. If he’s at the station or on call, you can always count on him to get the job done. Let’s face it, if anyone needed saving of some sort, we would all call Szlak to the rescue.