Honoring Ronald Buxton, 2020 Carol Walter Housing Tenant Award Winner
September 10, 2020
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans have reported feeling lonelier than ever before. So many of us are isolated from the people, places, and things that we love. The value of community-building is more important than ever – the world needs people who make each other feel respected and involved in something greater than themselves. And Ronald Buxton does just that. Through his work helping veterans experiencing homelessness at Veterans Inc., as well as his volunteer work through the Take A Vet Fishing program, Buxton lives the life of a true community builder.
His exemplary work and commitment has earned him the Carol Walter Housing Tenant Award. This award is given to people who “show commitment to advocacy for permanent housing solutions, exhibit exemplary leadership skills, and actively work to make their community a better place” and have lived experience of homelessness.
Buxton works as a residential coordinator for Veterans Inc. in New Britain, a service organization that works to end veteran homelessness. Officially, his job is to work with residents to meet the requirements of room inspections and drug screens – but it’s Buxton’s skill as a communicator, mentor, and mediator that makes him an invaluable part of the organization. He has developed a close relationship with many of the residents at Veterans Inc. As a veteran with a previous experience of homelessness, Buxton can relate to many of the issues and barriers that they face.
“I take care of these guys,” Buxton says. “They say, ‘If Ron leaves, we’re leaving!’ I didn’t go to school for counseling or training or anything. I just have a way of talking to people and getting my point across.”
Buxton’s first experience in homeless services came when he himself was experiencing homelessness. In his spare time, he would volunteer at South Park – because he “didn’t want to be bored.” Eventually, he began running the facility’s Veterans Drop-In Center, where he provided counseling and resource support to veterans in the Hartford area.
“I’d come in early to set up and do whatever I have to do,” Buxton says. “I really value hard work, and if I get a job, I want to stick with that job like I do now.”
Outside of his job, Buxton continues to work to provide a welcoming community for veterans. He volunteers at the Take A Vet Fishing program, having provided hundreds of fishing trips for veterans over the years.
“When we all get together, we talk about our military history,” he says. “We try to let them have a good experience and let them talk about something good, not about the bad in the past. People invite us to their private lakes, and they let us catch as many fish as we want. The guys really like it. They get so excited. Some veterans are just sitting in their rooms, and they’re just bored as heck. There’s just those four walls. But when the guys go fishing, you should see the smile on their face.”
Ronald Buxton credits hard work and his faith for keeping him going. And through his own work, he makes the world a more welcoming and compassionate place for veterans and people experiencing homelessness.
We’re proud to present Ronald Buxton with the 2020 Carol Walter Housing Tenant Award! To see the awardees receive their awards live, please register for the 2020 Reaching Home Awards. The awards ceremony will take place on Thursday, September 10 from 3:30pm to 5:00pm over Zoom, and registration is completely free. Click here to register.