Always Time for His Friends
John Skala enjoyed himself, but it was important that he made sure everyone else was having fun before he could get comfortable. "He loved making people laugh," said his sister, Irene Lesiw. "If he didn't see you smiling, he would try to make you smile before he would smile."
Officer Skala, 31, lived in Clifton, N.J., and was a Port Authority police officer assigned to the Lincoln Tunnel, and also worked part- time as a paramedic in New Jersey. He was called to the trade center after the towers were attacked.
Yash, as his friends called him, was well- known for his good humor and hospitality. He would put in a 48-hour shift but still find the time to have some fun with his friends. He could not hold a tune, but he loved to sing. At karaoke bars or at weddings, he would grab the microphone and break into song. Every year, he threw a Christmas party at his house open to everyone and anyone.
When he was young, he had a propensity for getting into mischief, like sneaking out in the middle of the night and driving around in his parents' car before he was even 16. "He was ahead of his time," said his sister.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 15, 2001.