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Onward and upward – Lansing firefighter finds more ladders to climb

By Jennifer Yos

LANSING, Ill. (May 16, 2022) – Firefighter and paramedic Jeremy Taylor is coming up on his 21st anniversary with the Lansing Fire Department. Within those years, he has served on the Technical Rescue, Hazmat, and Dive Teams, has been a CPR instructor, has taught at various fire academies, has won two Humanitarian Service Awards — following his deployment to Louisiana in the wake of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008 — and has received a Life-Saving Award in 2019 from the Lansing Police Department for his off-duty assistance with an individual suffering severe mental distress.

In his free time, Taylor is a Drill Captain with the Associated Firefighters of Illinois Honor Guard, the largest non-military honor guard in the nation. He also has volunteered annually with the St. Baldrick’s organization for the last 16 years and has been given the title “Crusader for a Cure.”

Going to college

Even with his twenty-one years of community service both near and far, Taylor, at age 48, is by no means winding down. Three years ago, he decided to take advantage of a tuition-free college program offered by Union Plus Credit Union. He enrolled in an online Associate’s Degree program from Ohio’s Eastern Gateway Community College (EGCC), with whom Union Plus has a partnership.

After completing two online semesters at Eastern Gateway, based on both his credit hours and his exemplary GPA, Taylor was invited to become a member of Phi Theta Kappa, an International Honor Society serving two-year community colleges around the world. According to its website, “Phi Theta Kappa … has a presence on almost 1,300 community college campuses in 11 nations … More than 3.5 million students have been inducted since 1918, with approximately 250,000 active members in the nation’s community colleges.”

Phi Theta Kappa

At the 2022 Phi Theta Kappa- Ohio Region’s conference, Firefighter Jeremy Taylor is nominated for and accepts the Regional Officer position of Eastern District Representative. (Photo: Facebook photo – Jeremy Taylor)

For the past year, Taylor has served as president of Alpha Omicron Nu, which is Eastern Gateway Community College’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa. Last year, Taylor and his fellow Alpha Omicron Nu members participated in Phi Theta Kappa’s annual “Honors in Action” project and prepared what they called “Blessing Bags,” which were bags of socks and various hygiene products that were donated to the homeless. In March of this year, Taylor was elected as Eastern District Representative for the Ohio Region of Phi Theta Kappa. As Regional Officer, he represents eighteen schools and universities in Eastern Ohio and a small portion of West Virginia.

This June, Taylor will complete his Associate’s Degree in Business Management with a Labor Studies focus, but already he has set plans to continue his education and his involvement in Phi Theta Kappa. He has enrolled in Eastern Gateway Community College’s Health Service program for this coming fall, which he believes eventually will lead to a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, and he will continue in his role as Eastern District Representative for the Ohio Region of Phi Theta Kappa.

Phi Theta Kappa Medals and certificates awarded to Jeremy Taylor (Photo: Jennifer Yos)
Jennifer Yos
Jennifer Yos
Jennifer Yos grew up on Walter Street in Lansing with nine siblings. She attended St. Ann’s School and T.F. South, and she earned a BA in the Teaching of English from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and a MS in Education: Curriculum and Instruction from the University of St. Francis, Joliet. For 34 years she taught English, as well as Creative Writing and Drama, at Lincoln-Way High School. She dabbled in freelance journalism for the Joliet Herald News Living section. Now retired, Jennifer appreciates the opportunity to write for The Lansing Journal and is uplifted by the variety of positive people she has already met who are making a difference in Lansing.