Leaving Asthma on the Sidelines for Service with Team Rubicon

Victor Young

Victor Young served for 14 years in the fire service before retiring last May as Second Assistance Chief in Lowden, Iowa's Emergency Management Service. He currently volunteers in Region VIII.

As a volunteer firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician, I am honored and humbled to be trained to respond to the immediate need my neighbors experience when in crisis. Although usually paged out of a deep slumber at 02:00, I enjoy going on medical calls with my wife, Debbie. We are a great team. We always respond, even if it’s Christmas Eve or Thanksgiving Day, with the gifts that God gave us, we help them on the worst days of their lives. People in the community know they can count on us to be there for them, and we are thankful we can serve them.

About five years ago, asthma crept into my life and I came to the harsh realization that it was no longer wise for me to “run” into burning buildings. So three years ago, when we moved to Colorado (Debbie’s a native), I retired from the fire and emergency medical services.

By this time, my older daughter, who makes us proud by her service in the Navy Reserve and two deployments, was well-involved with Team Rubicon. We even visited her on one in Nebraska. (You may know her as Vic Young; she’s now in Region VII.) Knowing my desire to serve others, especially those who were unable to give back, she influenced me to sign up with Team Rubicon a little over two years ago.

While my asthma has sidelined me at times, with God’s blessings I have kicked its ass for now and I am getting more deeply involved in Team Rubicon. When Project Kelly’s Heroes recently came up, I quickly jumped on board. Having participated in a few projects before, I knew the kind of high-caliber people with whom I would be serving and sweating, getting grimy, hustling, laughing, eating, drinking, and caring.

When there is a group of people who throw themselves into getting skubala (Greek term for sh!t) done, who do not shirk from hard work or flinch from a big task, but rise to the occasion and surpass expectations, time and time again, that’s a team I want to be part of. And meanwhile, the team understands that sometimes you need to take a break. And you better stop and drink plenty of water and wipe the fog and sweat out of your safety glasses before you get back into the program. Be safe! And, oh yea, did you forget to put all of your PPE back on?

You see, I have found a camaraderie that thrives in the TR. Whether veterans, first-responders or kick-ass civilians, we embrace one another.

Our brothers and sisters know that we have different kinds and levels of experience and skills, strength and stamina, but that’s okay because everyone is giving 100 percent to help people going through tough times. Each time Team Rubicon volunteers arrive, step up, and bring a little sunshine by showing them compassion, cleaning up the mess caused by a natural catastrophe, and helping them get their lives back together again.

This is what I, once again, experienced during Project Kelly’s Heroes. Team Rubicon is my kind of people.