Photo by Mark Kolash
HYDE – In the 15th chapter of the Gospel of John, the New Testament biblical passage states that: “Greater love hath no man than this to lay down his life for his friends.”
On Friday afternoon, hundreds of first responders from near and across Pennsylvania congregated with family and friends at the Clearfield Area Junior-Senior High School to pay tribute to teen firefighter, Jeffrey Scott Buck Jr., 18, of Clearfield, who died Monday from line-of-duty injuries at UPMC Altoona.
Buck was among the Lawrence Township firefighters who responded as mutual aid to a third-alarm house fire March 3 in the 700 block of Daisy Street in Clearfield Borough. Buck was critically injured when a porch roof collapsed during a fire suppression effort.
“There’s little we can do to heal the pain. Our hearts are broken but our spirits are strong. We stand united as brothers and sisters around this family,” said Lawrence Township Fire Chief Elliott Neeper. “[Jeff], we recognize your sacrifice. You gave a part of yourself. You gave your life.”
“A memorial service is a time to remember,” said the Rev. Daniel Osterhout, “… and we know Jeff will be remembered as a young man who loved helping others … one of Jeff’s loves was the Lawrence Township and Clearfield Borough fire departments.”
In these last days, Osterhout said Buck’s name has been synonymous with the word “hero.” He said a hero is a man who is celebrated for his strength and his bold exploits. Osterhout said: “Truly, when we think of Jeff, beyond a doubt, Jeff was a hero.”
Osterhout said that Buck has touched lives far beyond his hometown of Clearfield. “This week, we watched as porch lights went on all around the country and even the world.”
Buck’s funeral procession departed from the school at the close of his service; it was led by Lawrence Township Fire Department Engine 5. As it proceeded through Hyde, dozens of people lined Washington Avenue to pay tribute to Buck.
Buck was laid to rest at the Bradford Township Cemetery.