Late 19-year-old who dreamed of serving with Evanston Fire Department honored with new CPR devices

ByChristian Piekos WLS logo
Friday, April 28, 2023
Suburban firefighters get new CPR devices in honor of late 19-year-old
The Evanston Fire Department received new CPR device in honor of Oliver Leopold, who died unexpectedly at 19 years old.

EVANSTON, Ill. (WLS) -- One chest compression at a time, the Evanston Fire Department is now even more equipped to save lives with a new machine.

The machine is called a LUCAS device, and it provides non-stop chest compressions during an emergency.

"It's extremely important, because, every time you stop doing CPR, you kind of lose progress of what you captured," Evanston Fire Department Captain Megan Kamarchevakul said.

Three EFD ambulances are now equipped with these life-saving machines in memory of a person who lived to serve.

Oliver Leopold, 19, died unexpectedly in 2021, leaving behind both of his Evanston families.

"This donation of this device is kind of a perfect representation of what Oliver represented," Kamarchevakul said.

Even though he never became an Evanston firefighter, Leopold's parents, Alexander Brown and Mary Leopold, said their son's deep desire to serve with EFD was unstoppable.

"He would hang out at the Evanston Fire station, like all day," Alexander Brown, father of Oliver Leopold, said. "He would refer to them as his real family."

Oliver formed a close bond with his found-family at the Evanston Fire Department.

"He loved the people," Mary Leopold, mother of Oliver Leopold, said. "He loved the relationships he was building. He could find ways to help."

He even purchased an Evanston Fire Department reserve fire truck that was on auction.

"I was really freaked out that he had this huge fire truck and people loved it," Mary Leopold said.

Now, two years after his death, Oliver's dedication to EFD is living on through the LUCAS devices that were purchased in his honor.

"The ripples of his life will continue to reverberate and impact so many people, and they never know," Brown said.

Family, friends and complete strangers donated nearly $60,000 to the Evanston First Responders Foundation to purchase the machines.

"It almost exactly matched the amount that was raised in Oliver's honor, which to me feels like more than a coincidence," Mary Leopold said. "I think he is smiling."

The 42-foot fire truck that Oliver purchased is now being used to train firefighters downstate. His parents said it's the perfect way of continuing his desire to serve.