What community hero wants to be called a community hero? Probably none, but Jack MacDuff has many of the characteristics that make him deserving of the title.
Jack is a former Canadian Men’s Curling Champion, a fundraiser, a public speaker and a committed volunteer. He is also just a regular person doing the best he can to be a positive force in his everyday life. If you asked Jack, he would say that there are lots of people like him. His friends would disagree. They say he’s one-of-a kind.
“He’s one in a million … the kind of guy who steals attention at a party with his jokes and laughter. And he’s the kind of guy who supports his wife and his friends,” says friend Tracy Kenney. “There’s no one more selfless than Jack.”
Jack’s selfless attitude goes hand-in hand with his volunteer efforts. Friends of the Moncton Hospital, the Century Club of the YMCA and the annual Dragon Boat Festival have benefited from his willingness to go that extra mile. Still other volunteers and friends have been motivated and energized by his positive attitude.
Many say Jack’s positive attitude toward life is inspiring. If you were to talk with Jack by phone or e-mail, you’d never know that he has multiple sclerosis and that it’s increasingly limiting him physically. When you’re with Jack, you forget about his disability. He seems to ignore it. He goes about living a full, active life.
“Jack is always the most positive person in the room,” says friend Debbie McInnis. “Always thinking of others, kind, caring and a lot of fun. No matter what is going on in Jack’s life, he is the eternal optimist.”
Jack finds the good in everything. For example, this former Canadian Men’s Curling Champion who also represented Canada at the world curling championships doesn’t get out on the ice these days. Instead, he often speaks at curling events recalling humorous curling stories from the lectern. He may have a hard time getting up on stage because of his MS, but he quickly has his audience in stitches and soon forgetting about his disability. He is not his multiple sclerosis. It doesn’t stop him from doing anything!
One of Jack’s favourite volunteer events is the annual Multiple Sclerosis Bike Tour. For the past few years, Jack has captained a Bike Tour team called the Slow Spokes. He can’t bike but he follows the team by car during the tour, cheering them on.
Each year he also contacts businesses to donate prizes to a Maritime-wide fund raising raffle for this event, raising thousands of dollars for the MS Society.
And if he were writing this, he’d ask you to join the Slow Spokes. He’d tell you that he believes a cure can be found that will keep future generations from living with MS.
In the meantime, raising awareness and helping people are what it’s all about — and he’s there in the middle of it. That’s just like Jack. A regular person doing the best he can to be a positive force in his everyday life. His friends think it’s working!
n Community Heroes is a weekly feature contributed by the United Way of Greater Moncton and Southeastern New Brunswick. The United Way welcomes nominations for Community Hero. Please submit the name of your nominee, an explanation (400 to 500 words) of why you think they deserve the title, your name and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (506) 858-8600.