Milford's Barbara Buchanan looks back as new recognition is extended

| 29 Sep 2011 | 09:35

MILFORD - “She’s been involved just about everything we do around here,” Lisa Randazzo said of Barbara Buchanan. A lot of people in various places around the world could say that about Barbara Buchanan. Randazzo, vice president of the Bon Secours Foundation, was talking about the reasons that Buchanan will receive the foundation’s second annual Community Commitment Award at a Nov. 4 banquet. Starting as a lobby visitor aide in 1986, Buchanan has since become one of the hospital’s primary fundraisers, chairing the Bon Secours Society Commitee. It’s almost always been like that with Buchanan. “I’ve had a lifelong passion for causes ... Things just seem to come to me,” she said in a recent interview. The “First Lady of Milford,” as Pike County Commissioner Chair Harry Forbes has referred to her, has been an important player in health care, the arts, education and whatever civic roles have come her way over the past 20 years. It didn’t begin there either. A Minneapolis native, she graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts in Technology, “but that doesn’t mean anything these days,” she said. Her important effort at college was meeting a linebacker on the football team, Ted Buchanan. Following World War II, they got married in 1946. They lived and traveled in Europe for 17 years, while her husband served in senior management with the Lykes Brothers Steamship Company. She gave birth to two daughters, Patricia, in 1947, and Judith, in 1950. Both were born in Germany. Living in Genoa, she helped found the American Women’s Club, which still exists today and helps support several charitable causes. She loved Europe and admittedly “cried for three months, when Ted moved the family to New Orleans“ in 1963. But she soon was meeting people and getting involved again; as a fundraiser for the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra, working for then Archbishop Phillip Hannan. Today, one of Buchanan’s proudest accomplishments is having raised $1 million for a Home for Incurables in New Orleans. She says she’s never been afraid to ask people for money for any cause. “It’s not for me, and if someone says no, I assume they’re giving elsewhere,” she said. Coming to Ted’s family home in Milford in 1985, she started networking all over again. She’s been a director or fundraiser for groups and institutions including Pike County branches of United Way, and the American Cancer Society; Grey Towers, and the Pike County Historical Society. She was an early supporter of plans for a performing arts center, and most recently, she has devoted her time to fundraising for a new central library in Milford, which she hopes to see completed by 2009. Near the top of her list of accomplishments in Milford is “rescuing the Lincoln flag,” and winning support for its authenticity. “They had it hanging over a shower curtain rod,” she recalled. Rep. Jerry Birmelin secured a $5,000 grant for the flag’s restoration. Buchanan says she doesn’t get involved politically, but “many elected officials are close friends.” With a restored flag, she won over skeptical Lincoln experts, who have since, for the most part, come to agree that it does carry Lincoln’s blood stain from his assassination in 1865. “I’ve raised a lot of money,” and enjoyed doing it all. She says that if she is to be remembered for a philosophy, that would be her strong feelings about “lending whatever talent you have to the community ... It’s a question of giving of one’s self. I don’t expect others to give if I don’t.”