Heytens pursues career with FBIMany of us, with vivid recollection, remember something in our life that told us what direction to go where our career was concerned. As a kid, I came to a fork in the road: Replace Mike Nesmith in the Monkees or wait for Captain Kirk to retire and take the helm of the USS Enterprise.
By: By Don Leighton/For the Superior Telegram, Superior Telegram
Many of us, with vivid recollection, remember something in our life that told us what direction to go where our career was concerned. As a kid, I came to a fork in the road: Replace Mike Nesmith in the Monkees or wait for Captain Kirk to retire and take the helm of the USS Enterprise.
Well, neither came to pass and I’m still searching for direction.
Rick Reilly, look out.
Matt Heytens isn’t sure what triggered his desire to go into law enforcement, particularly to be a member of the FBI. He’s not old enough to have watched the show “The FBI” starring Efrem Zimbalist Jr. in the 1960s.
What is clear is when Heytens realized his calling. While most, including some 58-year-olds, have no clue as to what they want to do with their life, he realized that law enforcement was where he wanted to be when he was in ninth grade at Superior High School.
Immediately after his freshman year, Heytens began doing ride alongs with the Duluth and Superior police departments, and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department. He became the proverbial sponge and absorbed all the knowledge he could about fighting crime.
Heytens played basketball at SHS as a freshman and was on the golf team for three years. He enjoyed sports but knew that realistic athletic goals would not provide him with the life he wanted. He was aware that sports were fleeting and having employment goals were more important.
While attending Minnesota State University, Mankato, and pursuing a major in law enforcement, the 20-year-old, 2007 graduate of SHS has more adventure and excitement in his immediate future. He is excited to get on with his desired vocation and is on pace to graduate in 3½ years.
From May to August, Heytens plans to be in Washington D.C. to serve in the Honors Internship Program at FBI headquarters. He was given the opportunity after successful completion of the FBI Washington Field Office Internship Program last summer.
For the internship, Heytens applied online after his high school graduation.
Getting in isn’t easy: There is an 18-month process that involves checking of references, rechecking of references, a three-hour polygraph and a full personal background check. The FBI internships are considered to be among the most competitive in the U.S federal law enforcement and intelligence community.
The very competitive selection process included Matt Heytens of Superior.
Prior to his 2009 summer internship with the FBI, Heytens had another unique experience in Washington D.C. In 2008, he sent a resume and letter of interest in helping with a project many have heard about — the television show “American’s Most Wanted.”
America’s Most Wanted, on FOX, is hosted by John Walsh and has brought justice to thousands of crime victims for 23 years. Since the show has been on the air, 1,096 fugitives have been captured in 36 countries and 61 missing children have been returned home to their families.
Why did Heytens want to get involved with Walsh and the show?
“It’s neat to see a show that can make such a difference — 23 years — it’s truly amazing what they do on that show. Mr. Walsh turned his own personal tragedy into helping others. I want to be a part of that, to make a difference in the world,” he said.
He will work on the show again this summer as time permits. The show is a last resort for many people when standard law enforcement procedures don’t bring a criminal to justice. The publicity of the show and showing the faces of criminals or missing persons to the millions who watch can make a huge difference.
Heytens assists with letters and applications of people who have suffered a great loss and are desperate for closure of some sort.
“The show can’t air everyone’s story since so many applications are received,” Heytens said
Heytens has also manned the phones on the show. If you look closely at the closing credits, you may see the name Matt Heytens. Look closely, and you may even see him on the set.
Because of our changing world, the FBI is concerned about counter terrorism, counter intelligence and criminal investigations. Emphasis on these three threats has thwarted many potential acts of violence in the United States.
As you would expect, Heytens is a well-grounded, polite, intelligent, focused and humble young man. He credits his parents, Tim and Desiree Heytens, his grandfather, Roger Heytens, his education at Superior Cathedral, SHS and Minnesota State Mankato for those traits.
“I had some great teachers that gave me the confidence that I could do anything I put my mind to,” Heytens said. “There are also many outstanding police officers in both Superior and Duluth that helped to cultivate my interest in law enforcement and initiate my involvement with local agencies. I learned so much from everyone who has helped me along the way.”
Heytens had a dream at an early age and has done everything he could to realize that dream.
“I know that I want to work for the FBI,” Heytens said. “After meeting many people within the FBI and seeing the passion they have for what they do, I was convinced that the FBI was for me. My dream job is to be in the FBI where I can do my best to make a positive difference in the lives of the people with whom I come in contact.”
What a great young man. Lance Boyle is a better person for having met Matt Heytens. I have no doubt that he will realize his dream and become FBI Agent, Matt Heytens.
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