ELMHURST – Paul Lushin, owner of Sky Zone Elmhurst Indoor Trampoline Park, credits his business success to skills he learned on the job as a police officer in Texas.
"There's so many of us out there that don't wear the uniform any more, but I want them to know that we're still policemen or firemen at heart," said Lushin, explaining why Sky Zone Elmhurst held a Give Back Night on Monday for police, firefighters and emergency medical service personnel as well as their families.
Addison Giordano's provided free pizza while local public safety officers like Elmhurst Fire Department Lt. Dan Focht and his family enjoyed free time jumping in the sea of trampolines.
"Emergency professionals are a team, and this gives us a time to socialize when we're not a work," said Focht who was looking forward to starting a dodgeball game between his fellow public safety officers and their children.
Elmhurst police D.A.R.E. officer Mike Reiman, who brought his nephews for the evening, agreed that the various departments often work together at emergency scenes but don't often get to know each other outside of work.
"They realize it's hard with our shifts for us to do things together," Reiman said of Sky Zone's management.
Lushin left the police force after seven years to pursue business. He lives in Carmel, Ind. and runs a sales trading and sales management training business in Indianapolishis. His business partner, Gary Rowe, was also a police officer for 22 years. Both fully understand the challenges that come along with public service.
"I want them to know that when they come to our place they are truly appreciated," Lushin said.
As the father of all boys, Lushin says today's youth crave a sense of adventure.
"My kids have always been into something extreme," Lushin said of his oldest, a Marine fighter pilot, and youngest two, who have been racing Quarter Midgets since they were 5.
Whitney Lushin, 28, has followed in his father's footsteps, working for the family business all of his adult life, and now runs Sky Zone Elmhurst as operations manager.
"I just get really fired up about the youth here," Whitney Lushin said.
Aside from their business savvy, the father and son also share a passion for supporting young people and helping them succeed.
Paul Lushin is familiar with the view he says many of his peers have of the young generation's lack of work ethic, but he doesn't agree.
"They're not lazy, they want to contribute, but they want to be shown how," Paul said of young people.
Whitney Lushin acknowledged the opportunity he's had to try and fail at a young age while working at the family business. He said helping other young people learn how to succeed is important to the company that employs about 100 people, nearly all of whom are 21 and under.
"The mind trust that we have here, that could be the next Steve Jobs, that could be the next Sergey Brin of Google, they could drive by this place and say, 'I got my start at Sky Zone,'" Whitney Lushin said.
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About Sky Zone
Where: 325 W. Lake St. Frontage Road, Elmhurst
Open jump hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; closed Monday.
More info:www.skyzone.com/elmhurst or 331-209-6333