While State Farm is content on being a good neighbor, Taylor Buley exemplifies what it means to be a great neighbor to the town. From fire relief efforts to countless Rotary Club of Winters projects, it’s no wonder he’s the recipient of the Theodore Winters Award for 2021.
To win the Theodore Winters award, an individual must make significant contributions to the betterment of the town. Moreover, it requires one giving above-and-beyond effort, time and energy to numerous community initiatives. A criterion this father of two was able to meet not just from desire, but necessity after the devastating LNU Lightning Complex fire.
“I was honored to be the spokesperson for the Rotary Club’s fire relief efforts. That allowed me to galvanize the community around the neighbors in need and raised close to $130,000,” Buley said explaining his role in the LNU fire relief efforts. “I did the background stuff like writing checks, making bank deposits and getting money dispersed to help those effected by the fire. I was happy to be involved and everybody in Winters came together.”
After the fire relief efforts, Buley’s drive to serve the town was far from extinguished. With the Rotary Club, he helped build the reading garden at Winters Parent Nursery School that’s nestled under the water tower across the street from the Little League field, he organized clothes drives, participated in creek litter clean-ups and spearheaded multiple fundraisers to ensure Winters would have fireworks in the sky come the fourth of July.
“It’s part of my job to be involved in the communities I claim to serve. In my opinion, you can’t be a good publisher and not do what I do,” said Buley who is — if one hasn’t guessed — the publisher of the Winters Express. “I’m there in part because I believe that it helps me be better at my job. I also take a huge joy in making people happy.”
To Buley, giving back to the community is an opportunity. Albeit an opportunity he knows isn’t afforded to everybody. He especially laments the lack of male involvement in community service.
“People can get low key involved and that’s okay. They don’t need to go for an award, they can show up for an hour one day a year,” said Buley. “I just don’t see nearly enough men involved in nonprofit activities. There’s a lot fewer men than women and that’s a shame. People are working from home which gives us more freedom to spend time with our families, but I’d just like to see more men take advantage of these opportunities to give back.”
Lamentations aside, community service isn’t a labor Buley partakes in alone. In fact, it’s an experience he’s been able to enjoy with his sons as well.
“Not only am I out there, but my sons have been with me through a lot of it too,” Buley said, talking about fundraising with his son during the tractor parade. “My three-year-old had a flashlight and helped people passing by on the crosswalk. He was collecting five dollars at a time at the tractor parade and cried when he realized he didn’t get to keep all the money.”
After a busy year of giving back to the community, Buley is lined up to become the Rotary Club president in June. With or without the title, however, one can expect more selflessness from Buley in the years to come.