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Lake Geneva man honored for roadside rescue

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Dan Plutchak
May 11, 2010
— When Frank Guske Jr. saw flames shoot from a car on the Edens Expressway last January, he instinctively stopped to see what he could do to help.

He eventually pulled a man from the car, which by then was engulfed in flames. His heroism earned Guske the Citizen Lifesaving Award, presented at Monday’s village board meeting in Skokie, Ill.


For the past 25 years, Guske has driven the Edens from his home in Lake Geneva to the auto shop in Chicago where he works.


As he passed Skokie on Jan. 22, Guske came upon the scene of what looked to him like a traffic accident.


“I didn’t think anyone was in the car. I was starting to pull over, when I saw a wisp of flame,” he said. “I knew it was trouble.”


By the time he stopped and ran back to the vehicle, he realized someone was in the car. Several others also had stopped and were pounding and kicking the car windows, but they were unable to get inside.


“I grabbed a piece of the guardrail and was able to smash the window,” Guske said.


After knocking down the flames with a sweatshirt , Guske was able to open the door, and he discovered a gasoline can on the seat next to the driver. He reached in and carefully pulled the driver from the vehicle. With the help of other bystanders, he was able to move him to safety along the shoulder.


Guske, an assistant Scoutmaster from Lake Geneva’s Troop 238, credits his father for setting an example. “My dad is the kind of guy who also ran to help someone out,” he said.


Guske said he was humbled by the reception he received from Skokie’s mayor and the fire department at Monday’s ceremony. “It was definitely an honor,” Guske said. He was joined by family members as two fire trucks arrived carrying firefighters to participate in the award ceremony.


The victim, a 23-year-old man who suffered second- and third-degree burns, is recovering at the Loyola University Medical Center’s burn center.



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