NEC May 2012 Spotlight: John Buck

Despite his protests, John’s own Program Committee, Naples Equestrian Challenge, selected him for the May 2012 Volunteer Spotlight. 
After dragging his feet for some weeks, he finally started to fill out the Volunteer Spotlight bio guide.
Here is the result:

Name: John Buck

Moved to Bonita Springs, FL/Naples from from Playa del Rey, CA in 2004

Why did you move to Naples?: Our first child, Riley, experience a massive brain hemorrhage in utero.  His traumatic birth caused us to make many changes to our lifestyle which included moving to be closer to family.

Present and/or past occupation, company name, job title & responsibilities:

I am The Shark Tooth Guy encouraging a love of science and appreciation for fossils through education.  I am often out kayak diving in Venice collecting fossils of Megalodon’s, prehistoric sharks and mammals.  I also work in IT.

Family: Spouse – Stacie Wiesenbaugh and Children – Riley (9) & Ronan (7)

Hobbies/sports: Scuba Diving & Photography

Volunteer Areas: Program Committee and NEC Event Photographer

I volunteer for my son and my family.  It is important to us all (blood or friend/fellow volunteer or rider of NEC and all my family are all reasons why I volunteer.)  The questionnaire for volunteer spotlight asked what is your favorite part.  There is no favorite part for me.  It is hard (I wish disabilities never existed). But, while the disabled are alive and I am , I am here and it is rewarding.  It is being there during every moment to give just one moment of hope or joy to the riders.  Volunteering means 1 hour of preparation for 10 minutes of joy (or less) to a rider.  They say for every rider to ride it is 3 volunteers to be present.  I am but one.  There are many others.

I will say the easy part:  I love photography.  I might stand and run for 14 hours during two days of an event (or 11 for a one day event) while taking nearly 3000 photos.  Taking photos of the riders is the easy part.  The “disabled”  are honest and true.  They make me smile and I am happy to record their beauty and joy.

As part of the NEC family for nearly eight years,  I have left sweat, tears and hours in “the ring.”  It is worth every moment knowing I am part of such a wonderful organization.  Volunteering is about that one moment  which brings a smile to a rider, parent and organization that I believe in.

My spotlight is not a “sales ad” for the reader to volunteer (but I wish you would).  It is about a moment that I was asked to share… Being a parent of a disable child, smiles are few and far between though incredibly rewarding.  Believe that smiles can be created and join me on the journey to volunteering.

I was nominated for Volunteer Spotlight under objection; not because I don’t consider it an honor, but that there are so many of us (the parts) that make NEC (a whole).  In lieu, of my background/participation, I offer my version of The Nicene Creed.  It is why I volunteer.

The Disabled (ALL) Creed

I believe in the potential of a disabled person, a maker of tears of joy/sorrow, and Creator of that which I have become and am willing to defend.

I believe in my Son, Riley, begotten by God’s Will and at times a stranger to the world we (the functioning) take for granted.  Hit by seizures, forces unknown, nights without peace, rises again and teaches me to appreciate every small thing in life (a laugh, a sound, a smell, a step).  Night after night, day after day, in accordance with God’s Will he is my son and his story I will share with you (as he shares it with me).. Our Journey Together.

His Story, for those readers and for our understanding, was given to me by Heaven and incarnate by the Will of God and cast upon to tell this (his/our) story so that we may appreciate life, love, suffering and healing.

I acknowledge the limitations that they (the disabled) have; and I look to help them overcome their limitations and fight for their cause, in this world, until they find peace in The Next.

I believe in the Helping Guides– the parents, the relatives, the friends, the supporters and the caregivers; who come to us to overcome limitations of the disabled.

I believe that this is one messed up world.  I believe that life is not always fair.  I acknowledge the limitations of humanity/the disabled and the way the world is; and I look to make it a better place for the disabled (all) and those who care for them; pray for them or are willing to understand their world (and if I am Blessed enough, share mine).

This is my Story. Not written with religious intent— this is what I believe. This is what NEC is about: A belief to be realized with the help of those who believe.  Believe with me and join me to help, just help.




Here is John today; wrestling those nasty Ficus trees in our back yard.  Maybe one of these days someone will snap a photo of John at one of these events so there is a record of his presence as well….

3 Responses to NEC May 2012 Spotlight: John Buck

  1. John and Stacie –

    For the many ways that you struggle to raise your children the best way you know how, I am with you, I feel your struggle and your joy. I relate in so many ways.

    For the many ways you give of yourselves to help others at NEC and elsewhere, I am grateful and inspired. How you find it in yourselves to help others when you have so much to do to take care of your own family is a mysterious gift. Thank you for sharing that gift with NEC.

    For the way the two of you have found a way to stick it out together, through thick and thin, in partnership, I am amazed at your perseverance and hope that someday I will be blessed with a partner like you find in each other.

    I wish the best for you and your children and am honored that you’ve embraced me and my children as your friends. Thank you!


  2. sydney says:

    Your mom won’t give you grief for this posting! Your time is clearly appreciated by all, time being a gift given that can never be repaid and is more precious that most people realize.

  3. Lea Haven says:

    We appreciate the time John gives to NEC taking all the amazing photos. Riley and Ronan are very lucky to have such great parents and we are lucky to have your whole family as a part of NEC. Thank you!

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