Buzz Ray of Franklin, Indiana is being honored with an RTV6 Jefferson Award for devoting his time to helping teenagers in need. What makes this story especially heartwarming is the fact that Buzz devotes his time to at-risk youth despite his own battle with cancer.
Buzz created a program called Teen Link, which helps guide young adults struggling with issues like peer pressure, bullying, teen suicide and dating violence.
Many of the teens Buzz helps come from broken families and see him as father figure, admitting that there is no one else in their lives to turn to. For many of the teens, the once-a-month meetings at Franklin High School have become an extended family, with Buzz at the head.
Franklin High School teacher, Mona Heck, says, “”Buzz makes himself available to kids 24/7. I don’t know how he does it.” Buzz also volunteers helping teens with special needs or those who are homeless, reaching out when they need it the most.
Buzz was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma 11 years ago. His wife, Susan, said she’s seen him on his deathbed and knows the struggles he faces on a daily basis, which is why she nominated him for a Jefferson Award, a prestigious national recognition system honoring community and public service in America.
Buzz hopes that when the day comes that he’s no longer able to actively help these young adults, his program will continue to grow. “No matter what life deals you, no matter if it’s cancer, addiction, be the best you can be, overcome whatever it is you overcome,” he said. “I know when I’m far gone from this earth, I hope Teen Link continues. I know some of these kids will step up, and know that we have to keep this legacy going.”
Buzz’s philanthropic spirit embodies the essence of what Dale Carnegie stood for, and forms the foundation for the programs we offer at Dale Carnegie Training of Central Indiana. Congratulations, Buzz, for a job well done!
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