YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: ” I really wanted to go to Hawaii,” Ted Buscek said after learning tonight that someone else had been voted the “Ultimate Volunteer” by ABC, “but I am lucky to have so many people who love me.” That sums up Mr. Buscek, a North Jersey legend who turned his grief over his police officer’s son murder into the power to transform young lives.
We got the news courtesy of Bergen County Sheriff Leo McGuire after Buczek got the call tonight.
“The gentlemen stated that the vote was very close and very few votes made the difference,” said Buczek’s son, Ted.
“We would also like to acknowledge all those who did not know Dad but who voted and lobbied on his behalf,” the younger Buscek said.
Online voting from among 10 finalists ended at the stroke of midnight today. Then the waiting began.
“For many of us who have come to know Mr. Buczek, his reaction to his son’s murder is not surprising,” said Paramus Police Chief Richard Cary, one of countless cops who awaited the final tallies.
Over the years, “Mr. B,” as he’s known, has built a bond beween residents of the crime-riddled neighborhood his son loved so much and police officers assigned to protect it.
The World War II veteran established the Police Officer Michael J. Buczek Little League, in which police officers of the 34th precinct volunteer to coach and mentor community kids who desperately need positive role models.
Through lobbying, fundraising and volunteer organizing, Buczek has fed hungry families and helped fund continuing education — there’s even a public school named after his son.
The league now has 30 teams with 500 kids, who play on a new field, with turf and lights, that is just an A-Bomb-From-A-Rod from the new Yankee Stadium.
“Mr. B” can also look proudly on some former youngsters who have gone on to law enforcement careers.
Sadly, Buczek is slouched from severe arthritis. Yet he still attends games and fulfills requests to speak at school commencements.
To have him honored on national television would have been a sweet way of giving back to a man who has given so much of himself.
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