Friday, May 16, 2014

Who is Harry Shalan?

It's the question nearly no one is asking--yet. Who exactly is Harry Shalan? I hope that soon, people all over the country or--dare I say it--the whole world will be asking who this man is that they've begun hearing about. And you'll be able to say that you knew who he was before he was somebody.

Harry Shalan was born in in 1981 in Parkersburg, West Virginia. He was the youngest son of a factory worker and a stay-at-home mother, Harry was the first in his immediate family to graduate college, graduating in 2002 from Glenville State College with a degree in secondary English education. Always athletic, Harry excelled in baseball and cross country in high school while also participating regularly in theater. Not good enough to compete on a college level, Harry continued to run to stay fit, as well as participating in martial arts classes he had started as a small child. He recently earned a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do.

Harry is driven by three things: his faith, his belief in helping people in need, and his love of literature. Initially, this led him to teaching. He taught for just two years, however, before being falsely accused of sexually harassing a female student. Though he was completely exonerated when the girl admitted she had lied in retaliation for a bad grade, Harry felt betrayed and lost his joy for the job, so he decided to leave the profession in favor of seminary, with the intention of becoming a youth minister. He landed in Louisville, Kentucky, where two important things happened that led him to becoming the man he is today.

First, he found a job as an assistant to a private investigator. After working there for 18 months, first answering phones and doing paperwork and eventually working in the field with his employer, he found he had both a facility and a deep interest in the work. He found he loved it so much that he dropped out of seminary to become a partner in the firm. While there, he gained a reputation as a dogged, talented investigator and tough man who was skilled with a gun and hard to beat in a fight.

Second, and most importantly, he met a young woman named Deanna Baxter. Harry loves to tell the story of how he heard her before he saw her. She was singing a solo at church one Sunday. Looking down at his bulletin, he heard the angelic voice of the soloist and thought to himself that he hoped she was pretty because he was going to marry her. She was and he did. They dated for six months as she attended the University of Louisville while he worked as a private investigator. He proposed in December of 2007 and they were married the following August in Parkersburg. His best man was his oldest friend, Otis Campbell, a Parkersburg City Police officer. After the wedding, Harry and Deanna moved back to his hometown, where Harry opened his own private investigation practice. He worked alone until 2013, when Deanna, who had worked until that time as a nurse at a local hospital, became his partner.

As of this writing, Harry is again working alone, as he and Deanna are expecting their first child, which is due in January 2015.

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