A 22–year-old Kennett Township resident is gaining proficiency in checking off goals.
Austin Robuck is currently making progress on attaining one of his lifelong ambitions: becoming a Catholic priest. And he already accomplished another childhood dream by becoming a member of a fire company. Robuck is a volunteer EMS member and firefighter at Longwood Fire Company.
“My story began when I was a young guy and grew from there,” Robuck said in the release. “I thought being a firefighter was the coolest thing out there. I had a rare heart issue for a youngster, a bad valve, and I never thought I would be able to become one.
“My parents were faithful Catholics and I attended Mass,” he continued. “The ministry of the priests always intrigued me. Growing up I wasn’t sure where I was headed. Before I entered high school, I had an operation that changed my perspective and tested my faith. I became focused on regaining my health and serving my community, giving back what I received.”
Robuck said that prior to the surgery, he couldn’t exercise or play sports so a friend suggested volunteered at the fire company. “Our journey has been about service and faith, what life is really about,” he said.
More than five years ago, Robuck said he researched area fire companies and found that Longwood had a great program. “I came as an outsider,” he said. “I didn’t have any family members involved with the company. Everyone, especially Chief McCarthy, was so welcoming. Honestly, Longwood has become a family to me. The men and women are role models. They remind me how a life of faithful service is lived.”
Robuck has five more years of studies ahead of him before becoming a priest. He said it was difficult at times while in the college seminary to stay involved with Longwood but knew he needed to do so.
“Only a few priests are free enough to get involved in the fire departments or EMS. Priests lead a life of faith and service, and as I’ve been encouraged by priests along the way, volunteering has become an expression of a life marked by service, a witness to a calling,” Robuck said in the release.
The priesthood and fire service both involve serving the community, according to Robuck. Every time a firefighter responds to a call, he puts himself out for another person. The experience, Robuck said, reminds him of one of his favorite Bible verses, John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Robuck added, “A priest is one who gives his life for others.”
Robuck said he hopes to be involved as a priest through Catholic healthcare services. “I feel that God has used the hands of doctors and nurses to save my life. I want to continue to give back as a priest,” he said.
In the meantime, he said he’s honored to play a small role in the Longwood Fire Company, where he attained certification as an interior firefighter. “It is a big organization with a big heart,” he said. “I’m amazed at the devotion of every member have to this calling.”
Longwood Fire Company has served the communities of Kennett, East Marlborough, Pennsbury and Pocopson townships since 1921. Longwood Fire Company provides fire and rescue and emergency medical services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For more information see www.longwoodfireco.com.