I had to give it to him because he "remembered" a donut. Well, that was partially correct; it was a prasky sandwich on rye bread (with seeds); two white powdered sugar donuts, and a red delicious apple. Truthfully, I never got tired of this lunch line up if you can believe that.
So, the idea of celebrating the members of the Class of 1980 sprang into action earlier this week with my interview with Steve. It was amazing that those, ahem, 40 years melted away, and we talked like we were still in that lunchroom cafeteria all those years ago.
Steve was born in September of 1962 to Ron and Mona Forystek. He has two older sisters, Carol and Laura, and a "baby" brother, George, and they were all raised on the near West Side of Cleveland, less than a mile from my family home. While catching up, we realized that we were in the same 5th grade class, and probably a bunch more including both AP physics and AP biology at Rhodes.
Once we all graduated and went our separate ways, I did not know Steve went for one year to Marietta College to major in Petroleum Engineering. By the second semester he realized it was not his "cup of tea," so he decided to move back to Cleveland, attend John Carroll University, and majored in business; graduating with an economics degree to boot!
However, as an avid horse race track aficionado, any chance he got, he was at Northfield Park cheering on his favorite horse, or two, or three. He absolutely loved the racing, the crowds and the horses, that one John Carroll guidance counselor gave him this sage (and Steve's favorite) piece of advice; "get horse racing out of your system, then do what you want and supposed to do with the rest of your life." So he did just that, worked at the track until he knew it was time to turn in the gloves and muck rake and parlay his degree in earning a solid and commendable wage.
With Steve's winning personality, it did not take him long to launch his long (30+ years) and industrious career in small (and even large) environmental service companies as an Environmental Health and Safety Engineer. They include: Clean Harbors; Republic; PSC Metal; Scrap Metal Services (in Chicago); Powell Electrical Systems, and, most recently, Stanley Black and Decker. Steve, an admitted people person, has always loved his job and the people who work for the companies he's worked for. I'd say that's a win-win for all.
But, it's not all about the job for Steve, or his love of his job(s). His jobs also involve(d) food! And since he traveled throughout the USA on said jobs, and as a self-proclaimed foodie, Steve, AKA "The Food Guy," has more hilarious food stories in pretty much every major city around the country. The haunts he enjoys his repasts are from hole-in-the-wall joints, to mid-American fare and everything in between... all on the company's dime, which is sheer delight for Steve. Once it is safe to travel once again, we plan on meeting up for dinner in Cleveland, of course.
When I asked Steve what makes him tick, he never hesitated a second to mention his family; his wife Samantha (they've been married for 31 years this month/been together for 37), and their two sons, Alex, 23 and Blake, 20. He is very proud of Samantha who has been a dental hygienist for over 30 years, and his eldest son, Alex, who graduated from my alma mater, Bowling Green State University, and works as a contract administrator for the Cleveland Clinic. His youngest son, Blake, is a star hockey player, and has played junior hockey for a couple of years and plans to return to BGSU this fall to finish his degree.
When Steve's boys were younger, he volunteered as their coach in the various sports they played (soccer, hockey etc.). A crowning achievement developed in 2015, as both boys were on the same team to win the Ohio Hockey Club Championship for the Medina, Ohio, Hockey Club. For youth sports, it's a really big deal for sure!
In addition to cheering on his family and sons in their sports, Steve and Samantha bought a log-cabin home in 1993 and lovingly indulge in taking care of it, like re-caulking the seams, both inside and out, which they started in 2012. Steve says the last seam will be re-caulked this summer!
Some lasting thoughts about Steve: a foodie that has never drank a cup of coffee; has only been to one concert in his life (Barry Manilow); has never uttered the f-bomb word in front of his wife or kids (and workmates); and loves the music of Gerry Rafferty who Steve thinks was one of the best musicians ever.
And lastly, Steve loves going to work knowing he is making a difference to each and every employee regarding their safety. He is an inspiration for all!
BSoleille! The bright side of #CelebratingOthers with Steve Forystek!
Photos below from Steve: first one: A night of pretzels at the Q (in downtown Cleveland, Ohio); they were $1.50 each; vendor changed the business model the next day to $9/each. What??
|Samantha and their boys|
|The family heading to Cuba|