Myrtle Beach firefighter wins award

A firefighter who is a new father of twins born prematurely in late 2013 was named the 2014 Myrtle Beach Firefighter of the Year on Friday by the Chicora Rotary Club at the Dunes Club in Myrtle Beach.

Adam Oleszkowicz was honored by the group after being nominated by his boss Lt. Chris Eason. Oleszkowicz could not attend Friday’s ceremony because of existing vacation plans.

Also nominated were Myrtle Beach firefighters Eric Ballard, Marc Crago and Michael Iglesias.

Todd Setzer, a Chicora Rotary member, said the award is designed to show the firefighters “gratitude and appreciation toward the selfless service they provide our community.”

Oleszkowicz was awarded $1,000 by the club while the other nominees each received $250.

Eason, who accepted the award on behalf of Oleszkowicz, said all nominees were deserving of the award, but he was excited for Oleszkowicz.

“You couldn’t pick a better person.,” Eason said. “If you knew him and he was right here, you would see how humble he is.”

Eason said Oleszkowicz excelled at his job despite challenges in his personal life.

Oleszkowicz’s twin daughters were born at 28 weeks gestation and stayed at the Medical University of South Carolina for several weeks after their birth.

“It showed what type of person Adam is... the way he handled himself with the adversities he had in his private life and still performed to the top of his level,” Eason said. “It never changed him... he never faltered at work.”

Eason said he hopes Oleszkowicz, who has been with the department about four years, knows he didn’t let his “Myrtle Beach brothers and sisters down” by taking time to help his fiancé and care for the newborns.

“I can honestly say he is one of Myrtle Beach’s top medics,” Eason said. “On many occasions he directly affected people’s lives in a positive manner by being a first responder.”

Eason said Oleszkowicz serves as a mentor for younger firefighters and leads by example.