Written by Jenna Flynn
Supervisor Rebecca (Becky) Buch has a plethora of experience travelling the globe, living in diverse communities, and working with different populations — all of which make her an asset to the Marathon County Board.
Growing up, Becky was the daughter of missionaries. When she was just 5 years old, her family moved from California to Jamaica, where they lived and performed service work for 10 years. Becky completed high school in Pennsylvania and went on to earn her first college degree from Glenville State College in West Virginia. She spent a year working at children’s camps in Switzerland, where she fondly recalls experiencing the fun of long, downhill sledding runs in the mountains; enjoying cheese fondues and half-wheels of raclette cheese melted over an open fire and served on boiled potatoes; and recognizing the importance of teamwork to provide the children who stayed at the camps with wonderful memories for a lifetime.
Becky took a non-traditional approach to professional life by completing her second degree and beginning a teaching career in her late 30s. When Becky and her husband, Phillip, moved to Wausau, he encouraged her to go back to school once her children, Andrew and Erika, were in grade school. Rebecca went to school locally at UW–Marathon County and then transferred to UW–Stevens Point to earn her Bachelor’s degree in Education / English Language & Literature. She then earned her Master’s degree through Silver Lake College in Manitowoc.
She began teaching when her children were in high school, reflecting on how this afforded her a great opportunity to spend more time with her kids, helping them through the challenges that school brings, like working through homework together.
Now grown, their son Andrew lives in Chicago, and their daughter Erika lives in England with her husband, Stephen. Becky beamed from ear to ear while sharing pictures of her 3 grandchildren, Camille (age 7), Olivia (age 5), and Everette (age 2). It was apparent that having a close-knit family is an important priority in Becky’s life.
Becky worked as a teacher in Stettin, Franklin, and John Muir schools in Marathon County. Her most-loved work was teaching ELL (English language learner) students at the elementary level. She retired from the Wausau School District and now works part-time for MPPL Financial, a financial planning company headquartered in Wausau, editing articles for publication. Becky’s husband, Phillip, retired from the Wausau School District as well, where he was the Music Director at Wausau West High School. Becky and her husband have lived in Marathon County for 40 years — and her pride in raising her family here came through time and again throughout the rest of my interview.
Supervisor Buch brings her education, worldly travels, and love for her work with ELL families to the County Board table. She grew an appreciation for these children’s parents and values, the education that they wanted for their children, and their excitement about the freedoms that came with living in America. She shared:
“There’s a certain part of humility that I learned while working with these families. Living in America, we can take things for granted… Many families with whom I worked originated from circumstances involving hardship and threats of death. I found a new respect for our country the more I got to know about these families. I have learned so much from working with people in different cultures.”
Becky was encouraged to run for the Marathon County Board in 2020 following the local Pride Resolution that was a heated topic of discussion the year prior. She was elected in April 2020 and is excited to represent the citizens of District 7. She serves on the Extension, Education, & Economic Development Committee and the MCDEVCO Board.
When I asked Becky what the biggest challenge she’s faced so far was, she replied:
“All the fluctuations with coronavirus have been difficult, in addition to the lack of opportunities to meet as a group and get to know the other County Board members.”
This has certainly been a challenging year to be a government representative, yet Becky stated her steadfast resolve in fulfilling her role to represent her district and allow residents to share their ideas:
“Above all, I want everyone to feel respected. I want people to know that they matter. Constituents’ concerns or beliefs are too often negated or undermined by board decisions.
I try to have courage to stand for what I believe is correct while also allowing others latitude to express their thoughts — and truly listen.
I think we’re all important. It doesn’t matter if you are in the City of Wausau or the most rural parts of Marathon County.”
Becky’s upbringing in a family of missionaries and her dedication to her faith have propelled her to living a life of service:
“The church and faith community has had an important influence on my values [and] taught me a love for people and the need to serve [my] community. It has taught me to show love that we’ve been given to others in a practical respect [and] allowed me to work together with others who may see things differently to solve many issues.”
“We show love to a person whether we agree with their lifestyle or not.”
When I asked what Becky loves most about living in Marathon County, she was very enthusiastic:
“My children love Marathon County. Our family loves it. We appreciate opportunities — educational opportunities. There are good public schools, good private schools, good church schools. There’s just a good level of education here. My children have benefited from this…. We have the arts, small businesses, The Grand Theater, camaraderie within our residents, good roads, freedom to worship at our churches, athletic events, a diversity of population, great parks and recreational opportunities, our library system. We have a lot of privileges living here, [like] health care systems.…”
Becky could talk at length about all the things she loves about Marathon County. She has an immense sense of pride in her community and all it has to offer.
That’s a big reason why she doesn’t feel Marathon County needs to make a statement that we are not a place of hate through any formal resolutions by the County Board:
“There are always going to be exceptions to the rules, but Marathon County is a great place to live. We are a place of love and neighborhoods. Marathon County is a place of love, community involvement, acceptance. We need to capture that and focus on the positive. I think most people are hard-working and want good things for their community.”
What was apparent throughout our conversation was that she truly wants what’s best for all residents in Marathon County.
Supervisor Buch has been compelled to serve and help others her entire life. She truly loves living in this community, and her passion shows through her commitment to serve on the board, ensuring Marathon County is a great place for everyone to live.
Public Health Educator | Marathon County Health Department
Tobacco Control Coordinator | Central Wisconsin Tobacco Free Coalition
Jenna Flynn is a Public Health Educator with the Marathon County Health Department and serves as the Tobacco Control Coordinator for the Central Wisconsin Tobacco Free Coalition. Jenna holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a master’s degree in Public Health. She grew up in Northern Wisconsin and is proud to serve the central region. In her free time, Jenna enjoys coaching and playing volleyball, cooking, and participating in the many outdoor activities that Wisconsin has to offer. Email Jenna Flynn.
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