Jefferson Award Winners: Staish & Jack Buchner - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Jefferson Award Winners: Staish & Jack Buchner

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Chippewa County (WQOW)- It's hard to tell who rescued who. Jack had been abused and was in need of a good home. Staish Buchner was recently retired, and looking for a furry friend.

"It's amazing," says Staish. "He (Jack) just brings a smile to people. Anyone who meets him, they smile."
He looks lovingly down at the graying golden retriever by his feet, "I'm his driver, his handler, I handle his PR. We were trained together. So where he goes, I go." Trained in therapy, not tricks. "He was trained to go into a nursing home or even a hospital room," says Staish as he recalls Jack's therapy dog training. "He was trained not to jump on people. Not to jump on someone in a wheelchair, not to be afraid of medical equipment."

Jack also has a nose for nurturing young narrators, and he loves a good tale, of the printed kind. Staish and Jack visit Halmstead Elementary where kids take turns reading to Jack. It helps them feel at ease and concentrate. With each turn of the page the kids gain a little more confidence. You could call it a game of fetch come full circle. Staish is a former principal of the elementary school and now returns to teach a lesson about giving back. The pair also make regular visits to Chippewa Manor where they visit with residents.

"The Jefferson Award is such a neat way to share and to highlight and to inspire people and let them know that what they do makes a difference," says Sherry Jasper, a counselor at the school and long-time friend of Staish's. "Staish is incredibly humble," she adds. "He has always put kids first, has always put community first, has always worked hard to be the best person that he can be by giving back and by making things better for other people."

Do you know a volunteer you'd like to nominate for the Jefferson Award? Click here.

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