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Lofty goal leaves a 6-year-old up a tree
News Staff Reporter
Tim Slazyk of Grand Island thought his adventurous son was content to climb the small trees in the neighborhood.

But it turns out that Jack, who will be 7 Saturday, had higher ambitions.

Monday morning, off from school for the Columbus Day holiday, Jack and his friend set their sights on a huge pine tree in the yard of a neighbor.

With the neighbor's permission, Jack climbed more than 30 feet up the tree, too far up to come down on his own. His friend, who wasn't as ambitious, managed to climb back down.

But Jack was stuck, and the skinny branches of the tree were shaking. The Grand Island Fire Company was called and responded at 11:27 a.m. Ladder 6 came to the rescue, plucking the youngster from the tree.

Firefighter Ray Pauley, who is also the department's public information officer, said neighbors kept Jack calm.

"Fortunately, the kid knew enough not to move," said Pauley who responded to the scene. "He was not terribly disturbed; he seemed to be waiting for somebody to rescue him. It helped us because we didn't have to deal with emotions and hysterics. For a 6-year-old, he kept his wits about him pretty well; he was well collected."

Pauley said rescuing a child stuck in a tree is a rarity.

Slazyk and his wife, Andrea, were at work when the emergency occurred. At the time, a baby sitter was at the couple's International Drive home, minding Jack's 5-year-old sister. Slazyk's immediate neighbor called him at work after he saw the commotion.

Slazyk said: "I had no idea they would go and find a bigger tree to climb."

Jack, who also passes time catching frogs and snakes, is "just all boy," he said.

"He thinks he's 20; he always wants to be outside," Slazyk said.

Jack was grounded for the day and told to not climb trees anymore.

But then Jack asked his father: "Dad, can I climb trees when I'm 10?"