Back to People Rule

Donna Buck serves the military

City of Destiny Volunteer award winner continues her mission

Donna Buck, left, received the 2013 City of Destiny Volunteer award from Mayor Marilyn Strickland. Courtesy photo

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

"At the end of the day no matter how tired you are you know you accomplished something that you can feel good about," explained local volunteer standout Donna Buck, 68.

Buck, who has been a Tacoma resident since 1973, spent 43 years married to retired Army Staff Sgt. Basil W. Buck, Jr., who passed away in 2010 due to complications from his exposure to Agent Orange during his tours in Vietnam.

"He always said that he got through the Veterans Affairs system with my help," Buck said. "I had volunteered but when he was gone, I began to get more involved. I didn't want to see anyone else treated the way the Vietnam veterans were when they came back home."

Buck is a familiar fixture at the American Lake Veterans Golf Course, where she always ensures that coffee and snacks are provided to the wounded warriors utilizing the course for rehabilitation. Her work on that property doesn't end at the fairway either; she also volunteers monthly for bingo at the blind rehab and has lobbied to raise funds and triple the number of handicap parking spots available to visitors.

She also spends hours every week perusing area thrift stores - and using her senior discount - to find clothing items for the Tacoma Rescue Mission's Veteran's Resource Center. Every night the mission sleeps 108, and on average at least 25 percent of those are veterans.

"They may be down, but they don't need to be treated like that," said Buck, who takes the time to look over every piece of clothing, wash them, mend seams and replace buttons. "They are veterans and they never got the respect back then - so clean or dry clothes is the least we can do."

In May 2013, Buck was recognized by the city of Tacoma when she received a City of Destiny Volunteer award for her sustained service. Yet, despite the accolades and honors, Buck is resistant to accept the praise alone.

"There are so many volunteers and so many others working to help, I am just one part of it," she said.

As such, she is an active member of many local and national service organizations, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, South End Community Council, Madonna/Oakland Community Council, American Veterans (AMVETS) and was even an original member of Heroes to Hometown, which began in 2005.

"I tell people, don't sit around and feel sorry for yourself, you'll gain nothing from that," she said.

So instead, this Gold Star wife has led countless food, clothing and school supply drives; helped to raise scholarship funds for veterans and their families; and worked extensively with the Bears and Blankets program to deliver more than 1,000 packages to police agencies dealing with children.

Then, again this year, she spent seven hours of her Christmas Day serving dinner to the first responders and emergency workers at the Tacoma Police Department.

"I'm not quiet ... if someone comes along and asks for something, I will make it happen," she laughed. "They see me calling and they know I need something."

Whether Buck is baking to raise funds with AMVETS, combing the racks at thrift stores or clipping coupons to send to military families stationed overseas, she is dedicated to giving back to those in need, especially the ones who once wore a uniform like her husband.

"I sometimes think I need a regular job so I could have normal hours," Buck joked. "It's time consuming, but it has to be the most rewarding feeling at the end of the day so I don't plan to stop."

Read next close

Health

Soldiers, Airmen heal on horseback

comments powered by Disqus