Erik Steciak - A Life in Service

Erik Steciak, Year 14 ERT, was killed by a utility vehicle while on duty as a paramedic in Bel Air, Maryland.  His family and friends are in our hearts.  He will always be a part of the AmeriCorps St. Louis family.  Two of his year mates shared their memories of Erik as a way to pay tribute to his life and commitment to service. 1930312_539367486176_1956_n


"In general I saw Erik as someone who pretty well had his life together as far as knowing what he was going to do with it. It seemed like his service with the ERT was just a brief pause away from what he really wanted to do, being a firefighter. Erik really identified and was passionate about serving people through the fire service.
   What I remember most about Erik is the time we spent responding to the flooding of the Mississippi river in 2008, in Clarksville, MO together. Clarksville was from my perspective the most intense disaster response that we went on in year 14. We spent the first several days working 20 hours a day and doing all that we could to help protect the town from the rising flood waters. I think that Erik was really energized by providing service that had direct and immediate consequences. Erik was leading a team of volunteers that was building a sandbag wall close to the downtown area. I remember us having to almost force Erik to take some time and rest once reinforcements arrived. He was committed to giving the people of that town his best effort and in that he was a role model for the rest of us. I gained a lot of respect for Erik on that response, and though we were not close friends I felt a strong bond with him after Clarksville. I'm sad to hear that the world has lost Erik's energy and passion for helping others and I'm grateful that I got to spend the time that I did with him." - Dan Ulrich, Years 14-16
"I had the honor of serving with AmeriCorps St. Louis as an Emergency Response Team member for two years, working on staff at AmeriCorps St. Louis, and I currently work for another AmeriCorps program in town as its Program Coordinator.  I’ve met countless big hearts over this time, but few more passionate, more unrelenting than Erik Steciak’s.  He was an unwavering vigil, an engine of service that refused to quit—even when asked, repeatedly.  True, Erik’s passion for service could wear on you when you yourself were already weary, buried beneath mountains of stress and frustration, but in the very next moment, you could be inspired by Erik’s boundless energy that was always committed to getting the job done.One of my favorite memories of Erik happened when ERT was deployed on disaster.  Nearly seven years later I can’t really remember what it was or where we were—maybe it was during the ice storm in Columbus, Kansas or the tornado that leveled Neosho, Missouri—but I remember Erik holding about seventeen nails in his mouth as he nailed down a blue tarp.  It was dusk approaching night, and it was time to pack it in for the night.  Our team lead called for us to finish tarping the damaged roof we had climbed onto when Erik decided that the tarp just needed a few more nails to hold it down.  I remember our team lead yelling at Erik to come down because it was too dark and me and everyone else piled into back seat of our pick-up echoing it back just so we could get to dinner faster.  I remember being annoyed by the time Erik finally slid down the ladder, but I think that was just Erik to a tee.  He was going to make sure that tarp stayed on that family’s roof no matter what.  He didn’t care how many others thought that it didn’t matter or that he should hurry up; he was committed to serving, even if it meant an over-commitment to it.  That's how I knew Erik to live his life.I’m thankful that I had the chance to get to know Erik, and I’m proud that I got to serve beside him on a team that binds us together forever." - Jeremy Brok


For information about his viewing and funeral services, visit the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company's page.