Jamaica Gleaner / Michael Buckle, who was recently installed as the 58th president of the Rotary Club of Kingston, is a man who knows how to seize opportunities. Growing up in Wait-A-Bit, Trelawny, Buckle saw opportunities all around him and moved quickly to act on them.
The second-to-last of six children, Buckle stood out among his siblings. Although a bit on the mischievous side, he constantly had his nose in a book. From his early years at the Wait-A-Bit All-Age School, he was always at the top of his class, which worked well for him later at high school and university.
“I was always curious, and my curiosity was sometimes misplaced, but in balance. I used to read a lot, and this helped to broaden my scope and areas of knowledge. I was never content with just being normal. I wanted to learn more,” Buckle said.
The former Holmwood Technical High School, Knox Community College, University of the West Indies, Jamaica Institute of Management, and University of London standout grew up in a setting where his family, championed by his parents, was always giving back to the community, and as he grew older, it became embedded in his mind that helping others was the right thing to do.
“My parents took it upon themselves to grow the village. Cooking was a social event and everybody in the area would stop by. They were good old-fashioned Christians, and they were always giving and helping others. They donated property for a basic school and the post office and were very instrumental in the construction of the church,” Buckle said.
“My parents were the individuals in the community who persons went to for advice. My father was an elder in the church and worked hard in the fields. He also had a trucking business, while my mother, who was president of the ladies’ auxiliary group, was a meticulous housewife. They were always leading by example,” he continued.
FREE HAND IN CHOOSING CAREER
Buckle explained that his parents never pushed him into any particular career path, even though they did suggest that he became a doctor.
“They didn’t need to push me. I was never a technical person, and I was not interested in farming, either. I would hide and read, and my parents, realising my passion for reading, basically gave me a free pass when I went missing from the assigned chores in these areas,” he said.
Buckle now has more than 30 years’ experience and a proven track record of delivering solutions in various professional capacities. He is currently the director in charge of the Foreign Reserves Department at the Bank of Jamaica, with responsibility for ensuring the alignment of the bank’s risk posture and its investment strategies.
‘Best decision I ever made’ Although he has always given back in many ways, his philanthropic efforts got more structured when he was introduced to the Rotary Club of Kingston in 1999 by Andre Hylton, who served as president in 2004 and as assistant district governor from 2007 to 2010.
“My introduction to the Rotary Club was the best decision Andre made in his life and the best decision I have made. I am now able to develop that philanthropic side and to give back as much as I can in a sustained way,” Buckle said.
Under Buckle’s stewardship, the Rotary Club of Kingston will continue its quest to offer ‘Service Above Self’, through the 2017-2018 Rotary International Theme – ‘Rotary: Making A Difference!’
In partnership with Food For The Poor, the Rotary Club of Kingston will provide shelter for homeless mothers, children and the elderly under the theme, ‘Homes for the Homeless’.
“The Rotary Club of Kingston is passionate about ‘Rotary: Making a Difference!’ and has partnered with Food For The Poor to rekindle the hope of the less fortunate in constructing four homes, one per quarter, as part of our major project for 2017-2018,” said Buckle.
“I dedicate my ascension to the presidency of the club to my parents. Then, they did not have the vehicle of Rotary, but they did ‘service above self’ in their own way.”