Longtime North Collier firefighter honored for community service

Firefighter/Paramedic Robbie Schank knew he wanted to serve his community at a young age. He says fighting fires runs in his blood. Schank is a 24-year firefighter and has been a member of North Collier Fire & Rescue District since 1997.

Schank’s longtime service in the community has been recognized, as The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce plans to honor Schank as the 2019 recipient of its “Distinguished Public Servant” award.

“What made me wanna become a firefighter was my dad was the chief of East Naples Fire Department,” Schank said. “I just wanted to be like him.”

Not only did he follow in his father’s footsteps, Schank is passionate about lending a hand to his community.

“Most rewarding parts of my job are obviously saving lives and property,” Schank said. “Helping others in need and just putting a simple smile on someone’s face.”

Schank has been just as active in his community when he’s off the clock. He says he has coached over 1,500 young athletes in high school soccer, spanning the same amount of time he has been a firefighter/paramedic.

“I exhaust all my vacation hours, coaching high school soccer,” Schank said. “I’ve been doing that for the last 24 years.”

Firefighter/Paramedic Art Rodriguez with North Collier is a witness to the grassroots figure Schank is in the area.

“He’s always doing something for the community,” Rodriguez said. “He’s a great person. He’s genuine, one of the best people I’ve known.”

Schank say this award is a testament to his love and dedication to being a father, a coach, a paramedic and a firefighter. Schank will be presented with the public service award by the chamber during its ceremony Wednesday, October 9.

“I’m very honored,” Schank said. “This is a remarkable award because it’s not about a specific call or a specific moment. It’s about the life that I live. The life that I chose.”

Reporter:Melinda Lee
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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