Each month, Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma (CANO) celebrates the advocacy of one of our CASA volunteers. This month, we celebrate the service of Art Bunn, a long-time volunteer advocate in Ottawa County.
If you ever meet Art Bunn, it won’t take long to recognize that his life is dedicated to serving others. This service-oriented life began with Bunn serving as a Marine for four years. After the service, Bunn settled down to start a family. He enjoyed a very successful career in sales, but always wanted to be able to give back. Bunn was able to retire early and it wasn’t long before he found his calling with CASA.
Bunn’s late wife showed him an ad in the paper for CASA and thought it aligned with his passion for children and service. Bunn immediately poured himself into volunteering for Colorado’s 8th Judicial District CASA. It did not take long before they asked him to serve as the Board President. That all took place in the early ‘90s, and other than a brief break from volunteering, Bunn has been an outstanding volunteer ever since.
After the passing of his first wife, Bunn moved to Oklahoma and remarried. The death of his wife was difficult and the relocation took some time. But through it all, Bunn never lost his servant’s heart and passion. Of course, now he has found companionship, remarried, and is an honorary Oklahoman.
For as many years as Bunn has dedicated to CASA, he certainly has some great success stories. Most of them took years before he saw the payoff, but he knew all along he was helping the kids in his cases. Bunn tells of running into a young man about eight years after he had been a CASA kid. The young man was engaged to be married, had a good job, and was doing really well. Although it was eight years after Bunn had helped this young man, it was rewarding to see the effect of his work.
Another success revealed years after the case was actually the life-change in a young mother. Bunn served her case and years later he bumped into her on his morning walk. She had cleaned herself up, was free from her drug addiction, newly married, and had a baby. Thanks in part to Bunn’s service, she had turned her life around and had become a happy and healthy wife and mother.
When asked what he would tell potential volunteers, Bunn said, “It can be very rewarding. It can be heartbreaking at times. You have to be open to both. But it’s… it’s great to see the potential for growth and for the kids’ lives to be meaningful. Often times the kids come from homes that don’t give them the support they need.”
Bunn describes his work as a consistent process that takes years before the effect is evident. He even described his service as unremarkable; however, his service has affected countless kids and families over the years and that is anything but unremarkable. In fact, we believe it is quite extraordinary.
Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma needs more extraordinary volunteers, like Bunn, who are willing to serve for the long haul. If you are inspired by his story and want to learn more, do not hesitate to call our office at 918-923-7276. There are new volunteer trainings throughout the year so you can start immediately.
Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma/CASA
Child Advocates of Northeastern Oklahoma is a CASA agency that recruits, trains, and supports community volunteers to be the “voice” for abused and neglected children in the judicial system.
With offices in Claremore and Miami, the organization supports CASA volunteers in five counties in northeastern Oklahoma – Rogers, Mayes, Craig, Ottawa, and Delaware Counties. The agency also serves the courts of the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma.
Child Advocates of Northeastern Oklahoma is a member agency of the Ottawa County United Way.
People interested in learning more about CASA can find information about on the agency’s website: http://cano-casa.com/. To support the work of our CASA volunteers, go to http://cano-casa.com/ways-to-give/ and click on the “donate” button.