Frank Bucar nurtures a strong work ethicAs a boy, Frank Bucar took care of the grounds of his church, something that taught him commitment early in his life.
By: Catherine Vaught, for the News Tribune
As a boy, Frank Bucar took care of the grounds of his church, something that taught him commitment early in his life.
Those long summer days trimming the lawn while his friends spent time playing helped shape his work ethic today.
“When I can accomplish all the work I’ve set forth for the beginning of the day, that’s when I can feel like a better person leaving work,” Bucar said.
Born and raised in Duluth, he enlisted in the Minnesota National Air Guard at 17 and has been with the unit since. He’s been with the Distribution Flight office since 2008, he works with four departments: receiving, pickup and delivery, vehicle operations and traffic management.
“In a nutshell, I move parts and people around the world,” he said.
For a decade, Bucar worked supply one week a month — called “traditional” time — but switched to full time in 2003.
“I’ve been on several deployments. I went to Germany for a month, and I’ve been to Alaska and Las Vegas,” he said.
In the community, he has been involved with coaching youth sports, marching in parades through the 148th Fighter Wing, as well as helping with the Thanksgiving dinners at the DECC, and wrapping gifts at Christmas for the Salvation Army.
“Volunteering has made me an overall better person, not just helping my family, but helping out neighborhoods, the community, total strangers,” he said. “We start conversations and that’s how you meet new people.”
Besides these volunteer experiences, Bucar also plays the button-box in the local Slovenian group, the Singing Slovenes. “We tour locally, regionally, and across the country and introduce our culture to audiences that have yet to experience it.”
And his musical side doesn’t stop there. He was in the Duluth Playhouse’s performances of “Grease” in 2003 and “Fiddler on the Roof” the next season, as well as Renegade Comic Opera, and Change of Pace Theater with “Ole and Lena’s Wedding,” which has scheduled performances in October.
“As a military wife and mom, I have seen the firsthand sacrifices that Frank has made to make our community and country stronger,” his wife, Leslie Bucar said. “Frank has spent the last 20 years defending our country and our freedoms.”
When time allows, Bucar enjoys activities matching Duluth’s changing weather.
“When it’s nice outside, I like to play beanbag toss, grill and have a good campfire,” he said. “In the winter time, I play lots of cards — rummy games — and board games, and besides these, just watch my two girls learning and growing.”
As far as future goals, Bucar said, “I hope to do the best I can each and every day and to overcome any obstacles I may face. And to make sure my co-workers are fulfilling their potential, as well.”
Get to know Frank Bucar
Occupation: Traffic management specialist
What do you actually do? I work full time for the 148th Fighter Wing Air National Guard Base. My job consists of moving people and parts around the world.
Years in your job: Two years in my current job; more than 18 years of military service.
Education: I graduated from Duluth Denfeld in 1994. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Superior with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 2000. I maintain my teaching license through continuing education at the University of St. Thomas. I’ve completed coursework and earned a degree from the Community College of the Air Force. I hold dual Air Force specialty codes in both supply and traffic management.
Family: Wife of six years, Leslie (Hoffman) Bucar; two daughters, Anja, 4, and Maija, 2; and our daughters’ best friend, our yellow Lab, Sunny Dae.
Community involvement: Coached girls youth softball and basketball at Morgan Park and Denfeld; coached boys basketball at Northwestern Middle School in Maple; and involved with local theater including the Duluth Playhouse, Renegade Comic Opera and Change of Pace Productions. Since 2002, I have been a musician with the Singing Slovenes, a Gary-New Duluth based nonprofit organization promoting Slovenian culture and heritage. I’ve also provided music for Grandma’s Marathon runners. I’ve worked for the Salvation Army as a bell ringer and at the gift-wrapping booth. I’ve worked at the DECC Thanksgiving dinner and I’ve delivered dinners. I’ve taught swing dancing, and I am the vice president of our local lodge of the American Slovenian Catholic Union. I’m a lifetime member of the Minnesota National Guard Enlisted Association, served on military committees, participated in highway clean-ups, marched in parades and was the 148th’s coordinator for the 2011 Christmas City of the North parade.
What brought you to the Twin Ports?
My grandparents had to flee the former Yugoslavia during World War II. My father was born in a refugee camp in Austria. Eventually, the family immigrated to the United States and settled in Gary-New Duluth. My parents met at a polka-fest in New Ulm, Minn. They made their home at the “Foothills of the Gary Alps,” and I have lived in Duluth my entire life, with the exception of one year of teaching in Las Vegas.
Describe your favorite place in the Twin Ports.
I have two places. The first was my backyard growing up. It was all woods and close to all three train tracks on the “hill” in Gary. My second is biking on the Willard Munger State Trail (the second track on the “hill”). There are some great views of the Twin Ports from the trail.
What do you like most about he Northland?
Most of my grade-school friends are still living in the area and we get together often for dinners and barbecues. I enjoy the “small town” atmosphere of Duluth. It seems like everyone you meet knows someone that you know. Working at the Air Base has a family atmosphere, too. The Northland is so supportive of its military personnel, from the lawmakers’ unyielding support for the air base to family, friends and neighbors flying flags and welcoming home service members.
How can the Northland retain younger people?
I think one way would be for the city to offer businesses a tax deduction for offering paid internships to college students as a way for the students to make business connections in the Northland and gain experience.
Who or what has made the biggest impact on your life?
Professionally, a former high school teacher, Mr. Warren Peterson, made a big impact on my life. He showed me how to treat everyone with the same amount of respect and attention — no matter their background or how busy you are. This moral value helped me through basic training and continues to this day in the way I conduct myself in my career.
Personally, my wife has made a big impact on my life. She has continued to support me through my continuing education and my military career. She is the centerpiece for holding the family together when I am deployed. But most of all, she gave me my two little girls.
What are you most passionate about?
Professionally, I have a strong passion for my job for not only getting things done in a timely fashion, but also doing it right the first time. Personally, I am very passionate about my wife and our two daughters. I try to give my wife and girls the best I can, no matter what obstacles I have to overcome.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
I feel like I have achieved success. I have a beautiful wife, two wonderful little girls, an awesome dog, a great job with excellent benefits, and family and friends close by. I’m a homeowner, a native Duluthian and proud to be an American. On a more personal accomplishment, I was a recent winner (at the 148th Fighter Wing) earning top honors in my category for Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year for 2011 (in which I was awarded an incentive flight on an F-16).
What goals have you set for the next 5-10 years?
I’d like to maintain my teaching license through continuing education. I would like to progress in my military career while remaining with the 148th. We are hoping to expand our family by one (and possibly another dog) so that should keep me pretty busy.
What advice would you give other young people?
Always be polite to everyone you meet. You never know who your next supervisor might be!