Making ‘Magic and Miracles’ Happen, in Hospital and Community
Every evening at 8:30, Buck Jones meets an elderly coworker in the lobby of Einstein Medical Center Montgomery and walks her to her car.
“She once told me she doesn’t like walking through the parking lot alone at night,” he explains. So Jones makes it his business to accompany her. Then he returns to his job as a technician in the pharmacy.
It’s a kind gesture, and reflects the nature of Buck Jones, who was a recipient of Einstein’s 2019 “Keeper of the Dream” Award on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Jones is a technician in the pharmacy where he assists in filling prescriptions and delivers them throughout the hospital. He’s also a one-man social service agency who regularly gets emails and text messages from acquaintances that say: Can you help me? The answer is always yes.
Jones is a well-regarded activist in his hometown of Norristown. Known as Buck Da Cowboy, he wears a cowboy hat and rides his horse around town to attract young people whom he can mentor. He’s a member of the Police Citizens Advisory Board and arrives at the scene of every local emergency – from a fire to a murder scene – to help victims, and to calm potential tensions between police and the community.
Norristown Police Chief Mark Talbot wrote a letter of recommendation in which he called Jones “one of the most committed and diligent community leaders” he’s ever known. Talbot cited his “uncanny” ability to inspire diverse groups into uniting across racial, economic and cultural barriers.
Jones is also a life coach and philosopher who coined the phrase “Magic and Miracles” to describe both the work that Einstein does and the capacity within each individual to fulfill his or her potential. “Magic and Miracles is what we do here every day, every one of us,” Jones says, “even if it’s just by making someone smile.”
His life hasn’t been easy. As a young man, Jones, now 52, briefly strayed into trouble, only to recommit himself to a better path.
Then there was the 2004 accident in which he was so badly injured on a bucking horse that he was told he’d never walk again. “I didn’t believe a word that doctor said,” he says. And months of hospitalization and rehabilitation later, he proved him wrong.
Jones says he’s a third-generation cowboy who grew up on a horse farm in Norristown and has been riding horses his whole life. He was in the U.S. Navy for five years after high school, spent 20 years In San Diego, California, then returned home for good in 2004.
He started to coach local sports and committed himself to providing options for young people who might otherwise be lured into street life. One summer, he used a public park to create a weekly family night, with food, sports and games preceded by a pep talk.
He’s made influential friends over the years and recruits them to help him mentor local youth. After a notorious murder, he helped create a Family Night Prayer group that traveled to the four worst drug-infested corners of the town to do vigils that attracted dozens of people.
A colleague who nominated Jones for the Keeper of the Dream Award says he’s a “natural enthusiast and born motivator” who “promotes and inspires teamwork and the importance of working together, no matter race, gender or belief system.”
Jones is the single father of a 13-year-old daughter, and consciously behaves as a role model for her. “I work hard to be that person,” he says, showing a photo of Zaniyah “Scrappy” Jones, his daughter.
“If you want to know my why,” he says, gesturing toward the photo, “that’s my why.”