Shaun vs. the volcano: Survivalist from Faribault leads team on new TV show


Ever since he left his hometown of Faribault for Navy SEAL training, Shaun Keilen has usually worked in front of an audience confined to his fellow team members.

But on Friday night his skills as a survivalist will be on display for a national television audience.

Keilen is one of three "elite survivalists" featured on the show "Trailblazers," which debuts on the Discovery Channel Friday at 9 p.m. The network says the show will follow the survivalists as they lead teams of scientists through some of the world's most dangerous terrain.

In Keilen's case, that will be the Reventador volcano in Ecuador.

Keilen, 38, tells the Faribault Daily News that during his junior year of high school at Bethlehem Academy he was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder that caused him to lose 50 pounds and meant he needed a cane to walk for a time.

As he set about rebuilding his body, he came to a realization, Keilen told the Daily News: "I decided I needed something in life that’s going to challenge me physically, mentally, spiritually," he said.

So after finishing school Keilen headed for SEAL training in 1996 and eventually served with three SEAL platoons.

His Discovery Channel bio describes him as a "door kicker" - someone who always wants to be the first man in – adding: "When he's on a mission he likes to quickly take control of the situation, which is a challenge when operating in an environment as uncontrollable as a volcano."

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Keilen, who now works for a private contractor facilitating security and communication in Afghanistan, tells the Daily News he'll spend Friday evening on the couch with his five children, laughing and joking about his Trailblazing adventures.

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