18-year-old plans for firefighting career


Kayla Gryzik is an aspiring firefighter with a plan. The determined 18-year-old has already graduated high school with straight As, obtained a Class A Commercial Driver’s License and has been promoted to E-2 Private 2nd Class even before being sworn into the U.S. Army.

“Everything will be in place for her when she gets out of the U.S. Army,” says her mom. “The Savannah Fire Department in Georgia has already guaranteed her a job.”

Kayla, the daughter of Michael and Amber Simmons, moved to Canyon Lake in 2002. She enrolled in the Riverside County Fire Department, Rosetta Canyon Station, Fire Explorer Program when she was a junior in high school. One year into the program, Kayla was promoted to Captain Fire Explorer. Six months later she was promoted to Chief Fire Explorer.

In May, the future firefighter graduated from Temescal Canyon High School and then attended truck driving school where she earned a Class A Commercial Driver License. “She wanted this license so that she would be able to drive a fire engine one day. She’s the only 18-year-old female that I know of who can drive a big rig,” says Amber.

Kayla recently enlisted in the U.S. Army where she plans to earn the education needed for a career as a firefighter. “She was promoted to E-2 Private 2nd Class before she even enlisted,” says her proud mom. After being processed and sworn on September 7, Kayla flew to South Carolina where she will spend 10 weeks in boot camp, after which she will fly to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas for 18 weeks of medical school, and then on to Georgia for four weeks of Airborne School.

Kayla’s twin sister, Makinsy, recently moved into a dorm at California State University, Long Beach where she is studying business management before transferring to University of California, Berkeley.

Jaida, the youngest of the Gryzik sisters, is in the 8th grade and striving to be like her older sisters. “Michael and I are so proud of our girls and their achievements, and we thank God for that,” says Amber.


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Donna Ritchie