Ten years ago, Tom Buchanan was introduced to CASA through a board member from the organization. The rest, as they say, is history. Tom recently retired as a long-standing member of the board himself, and during his tenure, he was successful in recruiting several new advocates and cultivating donors far and wide.
His first meeting with Marty Sink, CASA’s President and CEO, and the board member, helped him to better understand the mission, including the impact that advocates can have on a child’s life. “I was blown away by the mission,” says Tom. He came to understand that advocates work solely on behalf of the child, adding “they rescue these kids from hard situations; they turn around a child for a lifetime.”
Prior to his introduction to CASA, Tom had not been aware that CASA is the only organization in the state that does this kind of advocacy work on behalf of children in the court system. “I didn’t understand that if CASA didn’t do this, who would do it?”
Tom was hooked after his first meeting, and stayed on the CASA board for a full three terms. As a new board member, Tom was asked to attend a court hearing, so he spent an afternoon at the Derry Court observing a case. He noted that the judge complimented the CASA advocate for their dedication to the case, and that the parent’s case worker was also very respectful of the advocate. As Tom says, “volunteers do the hard work. They are the ones who truly get involved in the child’s case.”
Throughout his years on the board, and as a donor with his wife, Joan, Tom never questioned the workings of the organization. As he says, “there is no mission creep. I greatly respect that over 80% of their income is earmarked for direct services. CASA stays in its lane and is consistent in all their endeavors.”
As CEO of Derry Medical Center, Tom has secured an ongoing business sponsorship of CASA’s largest fundraising event, CASA Cares. Derry Medical Center is a supporter of other organizations as well, and since 2006, has donated $136,000 in medical scholarships to deserving local students.
Tom has been, and continues to be, a wonderful gift to CASA. In his own words, “if you can turn around the life of a child, you have created a lifetime benefit.”