Before Zach Werenski ever put on a hockey helmet, he put on the fireman's helmet that belongs to his dad, Ken.
Ken Werenski serves as a policeman, firefighter, and paramedic in Werenski's hometown of Grosse Pointe, Michigan.
"It's one of those subjects that is close to my heart," Zach said. "Having a police officer for a dad growing up, you want to be like your dad, for me he was a perfect role model and everything I could ask for."
"Everything he does at work, everything he does at home, and being a police officer in the community; he's trying to give back and ultimately he puts his life on the line every day that he goes to work."
Ken has been serving in the community for as long as Zach can remember. He was always a father first, but Ken was at the ready to play whatever role his community needed when a call for help came in. Even when he was off duty, large scale fires or emergencies would demand Ken's help, and he would answer the call.
"It makes me respect what they do more," Zach said. "My dad being a police officer and first responder, I have a whole new perspective of who (first responders) are as people outside of their jobs they go to work. Things can happen when you're on the job, but when my dad comes home, he's just my dad and we can forget about that stuff."
Regardless of where first responders are located, there's always risk that is part of the work they do.
Grosse Pointe is a smaller community in Michigan, but Zach is aware of what his dad is doing, and what other first responders do throughout all communities in the country.
"It crosses your mind when you see them in uniform when they are going to work," Zach said. "For me, I think I have a new level of respect for first responders just knowing who they go home to and that they go home to normal lives. It's just a dangerous job that they live through."
Ken doesn't talk about his work much at home, but he does instill lessons that he's learned in his children, the most important being to love what you do.
It's something Ken lives every day - he loves going to work and he loves being a police officer, and now Zach has taken that same approach to heart when he heads to the rink to do his job as a professional hockey player.
"Everything that I am as a person has come from him," Zach said. "My mom has been a huge part of that too, but growing up and wanting to be like my dad and people now telling me that I'm a lot like him...I take that as a huge compliment."