S: Lighthouse Family Retreat honors Buck and Eleanor Barber
BC: Thanks again.
FC: Lighthouse Family Retreat A decade of service Buck & Eleanor Barber
1: Buck and Eleanor - You are, to us, the epitome of what the Lighthouse is all about. You helped our family through the roughest storm and were, without question, put on this earth (at least in part) to show great compassion, love and caring to wayward souls fighting to keep focus on the most important things in life. Like Jesus himself, you guided us with your sweet, gentle, loving souls to keep our faith in the Lord who is a masterful healer and makes all things possible. You fostered a retreat that was not only beyond memorable for our precious daughter, Ellie, but for Mom, Dad and Ellie’s brother, Logan as well. We thank you with our whole hearts for all you have given and for the example you have set for others. We think of and talk about you both often and wish you both all of God’s good blessings. Love, The Carlisle Family Tom, Darla, Logan and Ellie (Indiana).
2: Not only did they go out of their way to make everyone feel loved and respected, but they genuinely always tried to bring joy and happiness to the lives of those they touched. And through their example, I have found a purpose in my own life. My husband is from Egypt, a country in the birthing stages of a new future. They have a new large cancer hospital for children. It has become a goal and a passion for me to begin a similar Lighthouse Family Retreat experience for the children and families who are suffering through this same experience and to provide the joy and happiness for a week that was given to me and my family. Buck and Eleanor, may God bless you always and reward you for all you have done, for every smile you put on the faces of the children and families touched by cancer and may you always find health, joy and happiness for the rest of your lives. Vicki Linger and Family | One of the absolute best experiences in my life and the lives of my family was our weeks spent at the Lighthouse Family Retreat. During those times we had the blessed fortune to meet two of the nicest, most sincere individuals I personally have ever met, Buck and Eleanor.
3: Buck and Eleanor, You helped us in a time when we were down and didn't think there was an up. We came to Lighthouse scared of everything and you made our trip awesome, you brought us together as husband and wife and reconnected us with our children. I have never met a couple as loving and devoted as the 2 of you are. You showed me that theres always someone out there that has it just a little worse then we do, you taught me that just because I have a child with cancer that doesn't stop me, it made me a stronger person, We love the two of you with all our hearts. God bless you each and everyday. Amy, David, Bubba, Alexys, Charity and Ashton Ramsey
4: Buck and Eleanor- We just wanted to take a few minutes to say "Thank You" for not only our family the last two years but the other hundreds of families going through cancer treatment. You are such an amazing couple that we are proud to know. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We love you guys! Love, Steven, Heidi, Jacob, & Jared Moore
5: Dear Eleanor and Buck, The Lighthouse Family Retreat remains as some of our fondest family memories. The retreats helped us face our fears concerning our children, and opened our hearts to others in similar situations. The retreats brought us lasting friendships and relationships that we never knew possible. We are eternally grateful to LFR, and to the both of you in particular. If you recall, Buck, you were the first "LFR" person we met on our first retreat. We flew down from Atlanta and you picked us up at the local airport, and made us feel so welcome from the beginning. Thank you for that wonderful experience. From our family to yours, we wish you the very best in health and happiness in the years to come! Hope to see you again sometime. Our Sincerest Regards, Jeff, Shanda, Tanner, Tucker and now Tate Bearden
6: Dear Buck and Eleanor, Very rarely in life a person has the privilege of realizing their potential. When that happens God's work is being done, his presence is felt and seen. Gods' work through you and his presence at the Lighthouse are obvious and clear. | Knowing you and participating in the Lighthouse retreats kept our family together through childhood cancer. You and the Lighthouse made Ido's Leukemia much more bearable. At times we asked ourselves how did we get so blessed. Very rarely in life a person has the privilege of touching and helping many other lives and people. You have helped hundreds and thousands of people and families. You guys are amazing. We look up to you and hope to realize ourselves on this world by following the example you set in your actions. May God bless you and keep you for many many years so you can continue to do his work. We wish you and your family health and joy in your future adventures. May our paths cross again. Remember that we are always your true friends. Ido, Yuval, Amit, and Hedva Orgad
7: Buck and Eleanor, When we applied to Lighthouse Ministries, we were tired, shell shocked and grasping for any relief as a family, from the day to day of dealing with the ugliness of Austins' leukemia. We were nervous and not totally sure of what kind of people volunteer their time and money to give our family, total strangers, a free week on the beach. You guys met us at the door, and the rest is history. You welcomed us and made us feel special. You immediately helped us drop our defenses by being genuine and caring from that first second. We felt accepted by you and all those you helped lead. We as individual family members began to be able to heal and come back together as a close family unit again because of the laying on of YOUR hands to reach out from many states away. We hold you up as examples of great love, for ourselves and many of our friends and acquaintances that need the encouragement that you have so freely given. WE LOVE YOU GUYS AND THINK ABOUT YOU OFTEN! GREG, ANGIE, DAKOTA, AUSTIN AND KAITLIN MAURER
8: Dear Buck and Eleanor, You came into our lives when we needed you the most. You supported us when we were at our weakest. You continue to love our family unconditionally and we are blessed to have you both in our lives. It is obvious to so many, that the Lighthouse Family Retreat was your calling in life. Just six months earlier, our son had been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. When we arrived at our first Lighthouse Retreat, we were in a continuous state of shock and awe. Like so many families, we were in a stupor; a loss of direction and purpose. And like a guiding hand from above, Buck and Eleanor led us to a “common ground”...literally. You both showed us that we were not fighting this disease alone but had the much needed support of people that have walked in our shoes and carried our burden. You really understood our pain.
9: Over the years, our family has been invited to return to LFR, to continue to share our experiences with others following in our path. Each time you both supported us though the various stages of our journey, played with our children when they needed a friend, lifted our spirits when we needed a helping hand and guided us to becoming a better family. You were there with open arms when we needed you the most. Those vacations at LFR were some of the best our family has ever experienced. You showed us how to truly care for one another unconditionally, to give with our hearts, to put other peoples' needs before ours and to have faith when we had nothing left. Today, Colleen is now part of the LFR staff and continues to look to you both for direction, guidance, leadership and support. Once again, not much has changed from the first time we met. Buck and Eleanor, you are the cornerstone of the Lighthouse Family Retreat. Your contributions over these past 10 years has changed so many lives for the better. We are simply a better family for knowing you both. The love and support you share with so many families seems limitless. You continually lift our spirits with an abundance of positive energy and devotion to your faith. We are blessed to have you both in our lives and will always have you as angels on our shoulders. All our love, The Carter Family Ron, Colleen, Zach, Cailyn and Cole
10: To our wonderful Lighthouse family, It has been an honor to meet Buck and Eleanor Barber. They made our stay at the Lighthouse more than a vacation but a new sense of awareness, an extended family and brought our family closer. Although you might not believe it but our family was influx. As a single parent, it was difficult to deal with a new diagnosis and giving a non cancer child the attention they deserve. Buck and Eleanor were the lifesaver that kept us from drowning. The leadership they provided during the retreat in particular Common Grounds provided me with the motivation to continue the fight against pediatric cancer and restored my hope in individuals. Yes, people care and understand the fight families’ face. They give so much time, energy and love into the organization and the mission. Although I have to forgive them for being Georgia Bulldog fans; we appreciate the compassion, energy and faith the couple have. We firmly believe God placed them in our lives for a reason. | Finally, thank you for everything you do and may God continue to help you bless everyone with your grace, smile and spirit. If you are ever at a Dawgs vs. Hawgs game think of us. Forever thankful, The Durby’s
11: Dear Buck and Eleanor, Our one and only Lighthouse experience was in April of 2008. After receiving devastating news in January about our son’s health, we wanted Martin to have a fun Spring Break experience. I had heard wonderful stories about The Lighthouse from our dear friends, the Olson's. After placing a call, we found that we qualified and were immediately approved for our Lighthouse experience. | We three were welcomed with open arms and hearts by you two and others from the Lighthouse staff as soon as we arrived. Everyone involved in our stay was fantastic, but it was evident that you, Buck and Eleanor, were our emotional and spiritual leaders, and we thank God for your giving and caring hearts. We experienced love and understanding from other parents while Martin enjoyed his games and beach activities with our new friends, the Hershey's. Although we lost Martin on May 29, 2008, we know his last beach vacation here on Earth was filled with love! Thank you, Buck and Eleanor for our experience and for sharing your love with all the many families you have touched during your years with The Lighthouse. Best wishes, Alan & Sandy Blaisdell
12: Dear Buck & Eleanor, We would like to thank you both for all you do for The Lighthouse! Our very first retreat was in 2010 and we were very nervous but you made us feel so comfortable. You both are now a part of our family! You care so much for all of the families and volunteers. You helped us in so many ways that it would take years to thank you for all you have done. We admire you both as we watch you with the other families and also how you are with each other. I hope that when we are older we are as happy as you guys are together. We were so excited to be able to come back this year and spend another week at the beach with you. Both of you are so giving and would do anything for anybody. You prayed for us and treated us like family and we will always be grateful for all you've done. You are a joy to be around and we have such a great time with you! We love you both and we are hoping that we will be able to come and serve with you one day! Again, THANKS FOR ALL YOU DO!! Love Always, The Standridge Family Jesse, Carrie, Daniel, & Ashlyn
13: I just wanted to show how much DJ and I appreciate Buck and Eleanor for all that they do. Words cannot express how much they have given to look at life in a total different perspective. It is with hope that one day soon we will gather together again! I miss you too!! and the Lighthouse family. You should see DJ now!!! :) Love, Tersa and DJ Alsobrook
14: Dear Buck and Eleanor, When my family first heard about Lighthouse Family Retreat we were all so excited. As we came closer to the week we all became a little nervous. What were we in store for? Who are these people that would give their time to help families like ours? What was the catch? Once we made it to the big, white tent everything changed! We were greeted by Buck and Eleanor and immediately felt at home. My children were surrounded by volunteers that wanted nothing but to help and assist our family. My husband and I felt so welcomed during all our Common Ground sessions and throughout the week. We all agreed that it was the best week we have had since my daughter was diagnosed and hope to come back next year. | Thank you Buck and Eleanor and all the Lighthouse Volunteers!!! The Babcock Family Andrew, Cory, Adam and Catherine
15: Buck and Eleanor, I remember the first time I talked to you on the phone like it was yesterday. We hung up, and I remember thinking, 'that man sounds like a loon!' Little did I know, you were a loon - a loon with a great big heart, and a God given mission. I believe with every fiber of my being that you were made for helping families just like mine, and the Philpot's, and the Kelley's, and Goodpaster's to come together and laugh and cutup and just be. You have a knack for letting people just be who they are and making them feel special in their own skin. You will never, EVER know how much we love you, appreciate you, and thank you and those wonderful people at the Lighthouse for everything you do and continue to do. You are, by far, the best loon we have ever come in contact with! We love you so much and wish you and that precious wife of yours the very best in your future endeavors. With all our love and devotion. The Austin Clan, Jason, Danielle and Jackson
16: Dear Buck and Eleanor, I am not sure I can put into a letter just how much the Lighthouse has meant to our family. We were honored to attend two retreats while our son Carter was on treatment. Now that he is off treatment we are looking forward to being a family of volunteers next summer. At first you try and find the blessings in cancer. You do this because you have 3 children whose lives were just turned upside down and you are desperate to find something good. At first, finding any kind of blessing in the cancer diagnosis of your 6 year old son is nearly impossible. We attended our first Lighthouse when Carter had been in treatment one year. It was the first time I felt like I might heal and it was the first REAL blessing on our cancer list. Lighthouse was the first time Eric and I had the chance to talk with other parents about Carter. It was the first time we were allowed to be angry and allowed to laugh. It was the first time I ever heard my oldest son Max, ASK to be able to serve others after watching our host family. It was, quite simply the most amazing, spiritual and healing gift I have ever received. It was torture to leave that first time, I think I cried all the way to the Georgia line! Our second trip, where we met you was no less memorable. A bit farther along, a bit more healed I found it can be just as healing to help those just starting on the journey. Still torture to leave, still cried all the way home!
17: Our kids have learned about service in a way that I don’t think as a parent I could have taught them. They are counting the months until it is their turn to serve breakfast and their turn to leave bedtime messages on mirrors. When asked to talk about our cancer journey, the Lighthouse is always what we are most passionate about. I keep our Lighthouse family picture where I can see it every day and I keep my jar full of messages in the kitchen, where I can help myself when I need to. There are just no words to tell you both what you have meant to so very many families. We have memories for a lifetime and also a passion for giving this gift to others. THANK YOU, THANK YOU for giving us a blessing in this journey we didn’t ask to take. The Richards Family Eric, Christy, Max, Carter and Beau
18: Buck & Eleanor, Friends, mentors, husband, wife, father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, children of God, man & woman of God, servants, advisors, listeners, compassionate, loving, sacrificial, committed, loyal, available. These are just a few of the words that come to mind when we think of you and the influence you have had on us and the hundreds of families you have served at The Lighthouse. Many men and women go through their entire lives looking for a purpose..a place where they can make a difference. They only find out too late that it was right in front of them if they were willing to step out and step in. Buck & Eleanor you have made a difference. We have truly experienced the love of Christ by being served by and serving with you for the last 10 years. You have made yourself available both on the front line with Common Ground and in the background in so many ways. Your faithfulness and sacrificial heart are a major reason that the Lighthouse Family Retreat is still serving families and helping them find Hope. We are grateful for you and your friendship. I have heard it said before that you can tell the heart and soul of a man by the things that make him laugh and especially the things that make him cry. We have shared your laughter and we have seen your tears. You have left no doubt.
19: “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:20-22 We are thankful for you and your friendship! We love you, Rocky & Terry
20: Dear Eleanor and Buck, Lighthouse Family Retreat forever changed our lives in October 2006, We were so excited about our trip to Lighthouse because this was our first vacation since Chayton was diagnosed. It was literally a week of celebration. We met the most incredible, loving volunteers who not only took a week of vacation but also PAID their way to come and love on us. It was the most humbling experience I have ever witnessed. It was Chayton's first time being separated from us other than family since he was diagnosed. He cried the first day but by the end of the week he was eager to go to Flip Flop with no hesitation. The volunteers did an incredible job distracting him while we left to go to Common Grounds. It was great not worrying about going to the hospital and just feeling "normal" for that week. Lighthouse was much more than what we could have ever imagined the week was going to be. Common Grounds was the most special time of the day for us. We were able to share our story with other cancer moms and dads and not feel intimated by them. We all shared a common bond that none of us ever wanted to share, but it is who we are and we have to keep fighting this fight for Chayton's sake. Words can not express how much the two of you mean to us. We think the world of you! We are so blessed to have you play such a HUGE role in our journey. I am so glad God brought us together. Thanks for being compassionate, loving and caring to us. We can not thank you enough for all you have done for our family. We admired you so much! We can honestly say that when we left Lighthouse you were the ones who impacted our lives the most.
21: The friendships that we formed through Lighthouse are priceless and we will cherish them forever. Thank you for all you have done for Lighthouse Family Retreat and the families these last 10 years. We appreciate you more than you know! We love you, Michael, Trisha and Chayton Williamson
22: The year was 2007. Our 8- year-old son was getting ready to finish 38 months of chemotherapy for ALL. Our entire family was exhausted and needed a rest. A friend told me about a Christian retreat for kids with cancer that was held in Florida named the Lighthouse Family Retreat. I didn’t know what to expect when I called. I wondered what the catch would be. When I made the call, I discovered through a conversation with a very sweet man named Buck Barber that there was no catch. We set a fall retreat date. He helped me navigate through the paperwork and answered every question. He even dealt with my disappointment when the retreat had to be canceled. He assured me he would work with my family to get us on the first retreat the following season. Fast forward to April, 2008, when a van from Kentucky arrived at Gulf Trace and Buck and Eleanor were the first ones to welcome us. He made our first retreat memorable in so many ways. He had a sense of calm and serenity that helped ease our anxieties. He made sure all of our needs were met during that week. He made sure all 3 boys were taken care of and content (which isn’t an easy feat). He guided us, supported us, and lifted us up. We really enjoyed talking with him and his wonderful wife, Eleanor, during our Parents’ Night Out meal. He/they made us feel like family. When I think of Buck, this quote comes to mind. “A man never stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child.” Father Flanagan. Buck and Eleanor, on behalf of Patrick and the entire McSweeney gang, THANK YOU. With much gratitude, Mike, Debbie, Alex, Joey and Patrick McSweeney
24: Dear Buck and Eleanor: There really are not adequate words to describe how special you two are. However, it is an honor to try! One of my favorite bible verses is Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”. You two are what we think about! You exemplify all that is good. | When we think of you, we think of joy and enthusiasm. You both exude such warmth and compassion for others. Your commitment to the Lighthouse Family Retreat has been extraordinary. So much effort went in to the retreats, but you made it look easy! Each time we experienced the Lighthouse, you went out of your way to show love to each of the families. “Uncle Buck” could always elicit a smile from even the most reserved child. You encouraged the parents to relax, enjoy and let go. For one week you made life a dream for everyone that attended. The gift of self that you have freely given to others cannot possibly be measured. You both are treasures to all that meet you. It is a privilege to know you. Thank you! Love, Dina and Vince Vassil
25: Buck & Eleanor, We had the honor of attending a Lighthouse Retreat with you in 2010. Our family was just beginning the healing process following our sons' cancer treatment and Lighthouse Retreat was such an amazing experience for us all. Our stress levels had been at an all time high. Buck helped lead the common grounds sessions and we were so impressed with the amount of time he spent with the families-listening to their experiences-and getting to know them all. Eleanor was such a bright light for many, and I especially enjoyed the time we got to spend together during the spa time for mothers. | I loved running into Eleanor at different times of the day-we would look at each other-smile-and at the same time say "Hello Eleanor". Thank you Buck and Eleanor for being "the real deal" and for all of your time and efforts you have given to the Lighthouse ministry. May God continue to bless you both! The Arnold Family from Iowa Chad, Eleanor, Christian, Ainsley, Keaton & Xavian
27: Our family first met Buck and Eleanor in 2004. Our son Jake was one year into treatment for ALL and 3 years old. Our daughter Meg was just 9 weeks old when we attended our first Lighthouse Family Retreat. We didn't know what to expect, we were nervous, and especially making such a long journey with little ones. We were greeted at the rest stop by Buck. He was the first one that approached us and we knew we were in good hands. Buck was very excited, but was very gentle with us. We weren't used to the attention and were a little overwhelmed. Buck and Eleanor took to our kids quickly and before we knew it, Buck was giving Jake pocket-fulls of candy! Eleanor held Meg and we got to meet lots of volunteers. We had a very memorable week at the Lighthouse and the thing that stuck with us, even 7 years later is SERVE OTHERS! We've spotted Buck quietly supporting lots of families that have had a tough journey. We see him at the hospital, we've seen him at funerals, we've seen him at celebrations, and it's always the same with him. HE SERVES OTHERS and inspires us to remember to SERVE. Jake is now healthy, off-treatment, and 10 years old. Meg is 7 years old. Our story has a happy ending, but the thing that we've taken away from all of it is that God places people in your path that help you along the way. Buck is one of those people. His smile, his laughter, and his just being a part of something that isn't always easy speaks volumes about the kind of person he is. A servant. We're thankful for the God-moment that led us to meet Buck and Eleanor and we consider them a part of our team. Thanks Buck for all you've done and continue to do for all of the families. You are loved! TEAM RIVERS Elle, Brent, Jake & Meg Rivers
28: Dear Buck and Eleanor, Thank you so much for your dedication to serving the Lighthouse Family Retreats. God has given you both such a special gift to do what you do, especially in Common Grounds. It is difficult to describe what happens there you arrive tied up in your pain and emotions and by the end of the week you have new family members. It gave David an opportunity to listen and share his feelings for what I believe was the first time. | Your heart for each retreat family is transparent, and you make each of us feel special and understood. Our family was very blessed the two summers we were a retreat family. Childhood cancer is a devastating diagnosis for the whole family and the Lighthouse provided a time for our whole family to heal. It has been great being able to partner with you as volunteers the past two years, and we look forward to many more! David, Mary, Haley and Margaret Hurt
29: Buck and Eleanor were leaders during our Lighthouse Family Retreat in June 2005. They are such precious people and hold a special place in our memories. They had such compassion and genuine concern for each family. The Lighthouse was a fun time, but the Lord used the time of the common grounds to bring us healing and strength. Little did we know how much we would have to hold on to the truth's of God's Word as we had to walk through the devastating loss of our son, Ethan. We are so very thankful for the time that we had at the Lighthouse and know that God led us there so that we can have these cherished memories for a lifetime. Thank you Buck and Eleanor for being such an important part of an amazing ministry! Chris and Julie Alain
30: Dear Buck and Eleanor, My name is Elijah and I thank you for all you do to make a difference for kids like me. I Think...I Know by Laurie Eytel, CVA I think & I see how good you are I know I don't have to look that far I think you are amazing for you help kids, moms & dads I know it's true, a better couple cannot be had I think the families know it too I know it in the way they look at you I think I learn from you each time you give of yourselves I know it's a fact, in more than just one way But wait, it's not just ME that says "thanks with a smile" It's ALL of us, because you go that extra mile! YOU are the BEST - You make this program what it is. Thank you from ALL of us: Frances, Elijah, Tabitha, LeSidney, Bethaney and Beverly, The Ragland Family!
31: Buck and Eleanor, You two made our time at Lighthouse in 2008 and 2009 very special. The kindness and grace you overwhelmed us with during our time in Common Grounds will never be forgotten. At first I didn't understand the bond I felt with Buck when I met him; but then I found out he was a pilot and I completely understood. The common ground we shared as pilot families was truly felt; although this common ground was not needed to feel your absolute giving character. Thank you for the compassion you both showed us during our time at Lighthouse and in our correspondence since. We continue to send families to Lighthouse to unwind and rebuild from the chaos of having a child in cancer treatment. Our children, Jacob, Rachel and Ben share our thanks for all you have done for the many families who have enjoy The Lighthouse Family Retreat. Keep the Faith, JC and Kim Baltz Jacob, Rachel and Ben
32: Dear Buck and Eleanor, I have tried to start this note a few times, words usually do not fail me, but this time to summarize a note to honor you guys is difficult. But I will try; it is coming up on three years now to that day you all met my family, that we got that hug from you we so desperately needed. That Lighthouse Retreat, on about Oct. 14th of 2008, was a trip my family will forever cherish. ONE of the best trips ever, even under the circumstances, that astounds me still. If you recall, on the 10th we had gotten news that Hollyn had relapsed, and we still made our way to your seaside retreat. | We were broken, lost, yet clinging to the Lord for his guidance, love and comfort. We found it with y'all. We still keep in contact with Carolyn, Cheryl and Lisa. We still have a lighthouse on our mantle with seashells from the beach. We still have a photo on our tv in the living room and we will forever hold you all in our hearts. We are still friends with many of the guests we met that week, we know two of those children are still battling the beast and continue to pray for all that we met that weekend. You guys made us feel like family, special family.
33: I was worried at first when I signed up, what would it be like, we have such a large family, will it all work? Then the news of relapse came and nothing mattered but getting to Florida for some much needed family time. I called it the calm before the storm. And thanking God each day, I am happy to say our storm has subsided, Hollyn is cancer free today. Two and half years post transplant, a 3X cancer survivor and doing great things in God's honor. Tomorrow we have scans again, those dreaded scans. And as scanxiety tries to choke my heart and slow my brain, I am writing to you, and remembering the sand, the sun and the fun God provided us. We will cherish it forever, like we cherish you. I hope you know how many families you have touched, how many children adore you and all the good you provide in His name. Thank you for being there for us, and even hearing your voice in 2009, when we were suppose to return, but swine flu had me under its claws, it brought me comfort. My family was so unhappy we couldn't "Come on down..." but we got through it and continue to hold the retreat close to their hearts. Thank you for your continued prayers and for touching so many lives every year! You guys are wonderful and amazing gifts from God above. God's blessings in all you do, Jennifer Peterson and family (Dale, Jorie,Drake, Hollyn, Kailey and Jessica)
34: Dear Buck and Eleanor, I cannot express how special you are to us! Even though we only crossed paths for a short time, you impacted our lives in such an amazing way! Just a week or so before our first trip to Lighthouse, I remember contacting you to say that you should consider giving our spot to another family because we were afraid Logan had relapsed. We were waiting on test results and I was afraid that we were not going to be able to come. We were trying to keep a positive outlook and had not even told the kids of our fears, but inside I was a wreck! You called me, Buck, and I will never forget how reassuring you were. We had never met, yet you seemed to understand. You told me you were not going to give our spot away because it was for us, you were preparing for us and we were the family that was meant to be there. You reassured me that you would be praying for a positive outcome and you couldn't wait to meet us. I remember being so surprised at your response. I guess I expected you to be annoyed that we might be canceling. Clearly, I did not know what a special place Lighthouse would be and what special people you are. From that first interaction through our final good-bye, you both made us feel as if we had known you forever. You made us feel comfortable and supported and free to talk through some of the toughest days of our lives. You felt like old friends that had walked the journey with us. Thanks to your kind and gentle spirits, we were able to heal some hurts that honestly, we did not know we had. What a life-changing blessing you have given to us!
35: We were near the end of Logan's cancer journey when we first came to Lighthouse, but Dave and I had not ever addressed how we were feeling. It was always about Logan. What a gift to be able to heal. What a gift to be able to stand back and really see that God was carrying us through it all. God showed us many miracles during Logan's cancer journey and you helped us to see them. I know it is a gift you have given so many families. I mean it when I say that I really don't think we could have gotten through it with out you! Today, I am happy to report that Logan is a happy, healthy, silly fourth grader who plays football and soccer and has a sweet spirit. This month marks the seven-year anniversary of his diagnosis. We pause to remember each year with praise and gratitude to our great God for the gift of healing. We are thankful for Logan's physical healing and also for the family healing. We are not the same as we were seven years ago. Thanks in part to you, when we think about Logan's cancer, we see an amazing God, who allowed us to see His amazing work in our lives. That is life altering. It changes our view of everything. How can we ever thank you for that? We pray that you know how loved you are! The Wang Family Dave, Jennifer, Mike & Logan
36: Dear Buck and Eleanor, Gretchen and I can't say enough of how Buck and Eleanor have touched our lives. For the past 3 years we've been on the journey no parents ever want to travel -- the journey of having a child with cancer. We have been able to survive the journey because of the helping hands of Buck and Eleanor. They have been guardian angels for us since the day we met in 2009. We had a gut feeling that there was something special about the Lighthouse Retreat when Jon retrieved Buck's voicemail and didn't hear it quite correctly. Jon told Gretchen that "someone named Buck from the White House called for you!" Buck's calming southern voice was our only real contact with the Lighthouse at the time. We knew nobody else. So we traveled 1000 miles with toddler triplets and their big brother to the retreat. We left our comfort zone in Chicago "on a wing and a prayer." Now, three years later, our annual visits with Buck, Eleanor and the rest of our Lighthouse family have become homecomings for us. Buck and Eleanor's dedication to our marriage and our family is beyond words. | Every single day we are reminded of their unconditional love of others, their passion for family and their selfless dedication to those in need. Buck and Eleanor have inspired us to finish our cancer journey together, with only one goal in mind -- success! Without them, we would not be here today. They are not only our guardian angels; they are part of our family. Jon Maks
37: I would express my thanks to Lighthouse and Buck and Eleanor. God has blessed you with a great minister to families of children with cancer. So, many times families live from crisis to crisis and to have a small respite for a week. Buck and Eleanor showed love and care to my family during our week in April of this year. We are looking forward to another. God bless BUCK and ELEANOR. Your Brother and Sisters in Christ, Tom, Julie, Ariel and Rebecca Carnes
38: Buck and Eleanor, It was such a blessing to get to know Buck and Eleanor. We will always be thankful for the love and compassion that they gave to our family. The kindness that they showed one another set such a great example for our own marriage. Buck and Eleanor have left an impression on our hearts that we will treasure forever. We could definitely feel God working through them! It has been at our lowest parts of our lives when we have felt the greatest blessed-The Lighthouse, Buck & Eleanor Thank you! We love you much! The Arnout Family Tony, Katie, Elizabeth, Jacob, Jonathan and Rosie
39: Dear Sweet Buck and Eleanor, Our never-ending gratitude for the experience that you gave us at Lighthouse. We are so blessed to have met you. How does one put into words the profound impact that you have had on a family? You have inspired us and so many others with your selflessness. Above all, thank you for giving our family the chance to make memories in a safe, loving, fun environment. You provided us with the support that we didn't know we needed. And we met some great people - volunteers and cancer families - that will forever be in our lives. We look forward to seeing you again and are so grateful to have met you and felt your big hearts and big hugs. The Golden Family Latricia, Jeff, Lorel and Lilla
40: We have had the immense pleasure and blessing of attending the Lighthouse Family Retreat on two occasions, once with Rocky and Terri as common ground facilitators and once with Buck and Eleanor as common ground facilitators. We would just love for Buck and Eleanor to know how thankful we are for their work with this outstanding organization that is truly ministering and serving families dealing with childhood cancer. No one can understand the grief and loss we feel for our precious children being attacked by cancer, it is the worst of the worst situations for any parent. | There are so many organizations who give a teddy bear, or a toy to the "cancer child" and though we have had our share of these "teddy bears" and "toys", only the Lighthouse Family Retreat truly helps the entire family through what it is a families worst nightmare. Your love and care for the wonderful siblings of these cancer kids is so meaningful to us as parents. We must shuffle our non cancer patient children to the back of everything and the love that is showered on them at the Lighthouse is wonderful and comes straight from the heart of God. Most importantly the time spent with the parents in "Common Ground" is so important to us as parents. We are devastated inside, we are grief stricken and live in fear and no matter how many times I hear some good meaning person say "give the worry over to God", that person has never had a child with cancer.
41: The anxiety and stress it drives into our lives is horrendous and we will truly NEVER be the same. In our case, Truman's life has been dramatically altered and therefore so has ours and that of our younger son Greyson. We want to thank you so much for spending your time ministering and listening to parents of kids with cancer, we can't pay for our own therapy in the financial stress we live under paying for treatment and prosthetics, we can't make time for it in the midst of all the overwhelming medical news and shock, and we can't make it a priority when the priority is to fight with all we have to try and save our child (children), for these reasons we are so very grateful for the leadership in the common ground time. We can cry, shake, be overwhelmed, be desperate and just be heard and let our guard down for a few minutes. We are so grateful to Buck and Eleanor that they have chosen to do the work of God with these precious families, battling a huge beast that no one can understand. I remember Eleanor making a statement that their friends " don't understand why they do their thing all summer" (referencing their work at the Lighthouse all summer, every summer), but she just smiled and said, it's what we do. We for one, are a family that is so thankful for this wonderful organization that is lead by people so driven to help, not afraid to dive deep into the fear and grief that we are suffering and offer hope and a smile and to just be there for us and take the load off even if just for a few minutes. We are forever grateful for the Lighthouse, but we know what makes the Lighthouse is the leadership of special people that see a horrendous need of suffering and pain in families of childhood cancer families and yet they stand, they take action and they say, I can help, I can make life better for someone else, even if just for a week, I can and will do it. We are blessed to be a part of the Lighthouse family. Kim, Wade, Truman and Greyson Hedrick
42: Dear Buck and Eleanor, We were so very fortunate to spend all those glorious weeks with the two of you and the whole Lighthouse family over the years. Missy and I watched in awe how you always held your emotions together while hosting Common Grounds. You always knew what to say and said it with such compassion and so eloquently. The hope that radiated from your smiles and warm touch was quite simply, calming. Coming from our chaotic life style of balancing treatments, horrible side effects and pain, trying to keep our two healthy children's lives normal and all the while balancing Missy and I's relationship to keep it strong and loving, the two of you were always a welcome sight and true inspiration. Thank you for giving of yourselves so effortlessly and thank you for playing such an important role in not only our lives but the lives of so many other families. It is pure dedication. Forever in our thoughts, Les, Angel Missy, Heidi, Will and Angel Ryan Morgan
43: Our family can only remember our incredible Lighthouse retreats with powerful reminders of Buck and Eleanor's warm embraces, heartfelt encouragement, continual smiles, and prayers. They have nursed us through one relapse and I know if Will wasn't too old, they would have been nurturing us through his second relapse with just as much love, comfort, and hope as they always offered. Lighthouse families like ours have been so blessed by Buck and Eleanor's devotion and the Will Olson family is grateful for Buck and Eleanor as they celebrate 10 years of amazing devotion to families with children with cancer! We love you Buck and Eleanor! Nancy, Lee, Claire, and WILLIAM Olson
44: My girls, Carmen and Caroline, and I first came to the Lighthouse three years ago when I thought I had it all together. I came into the experience knowing that the Lighthouse was not for me, but I thought the girls would benefit. Maybe Caroline would enjoy the sand, maybe Carmen would learn that she was not alone in having a seriously ill sibling. But I knew I was fine. UntilI went to Common Grounds. I found there two people, Buck and Eleanor, who were committed to serving the Lord, and what has happened since, is nothing short of miraculous. I heard the message God was something that I might be interested in -but even though I was raised in church, I still did not know what He was exactly. | Our second trip to the Lighthouse, I continued to resist a bit but my girls were “all in”, and I thought I willingly followed them. I learned that it was okay to relax a little, slow down a little and forget about the tumor a little just a little still was not willing to let go. Buck and Eleanor continued to crack me just a bit each time we met. I accepted that God was Good. I accepted that God cared about us and that He was in Control, I just wasn’t sure I wanted to give up my portion of the control! I was sure I could share the control with Him.
45: When we returned for the third time, I was relaxed before I arrived. I knew that the Lighthouse was a safe place for me and that I no longer had to pretend. Really, the only place I had found that I could let it all go. Buck and Eleanor led me to know that God can handle all of this for me. I don’t have to be the one pretending to be in control. He has it all. That is a relief beyond all explanation. I enjoyed Common Grounds more this time because I knew this God they had spoken of personally. I relied on him each day now, because Buck and Eleanor had brought me to him again. I think it is easy to lose sight of God in the cancer walk, but they gently brought me back. I needed to be brought back gently, so they kept nudging me in the right direction. Sometimes, it just takes a nudge. Our lives have changed drastically since our first Lighthouse. We have found a home at North Point. Carmen is very active at InsideOut and serves with a Kindergarten group on Sundays. Caroline and I are active in helping new families who have been diagnosed with brain cancer. Our message is always the same. God is good, God cares, God is in Control and He wants to know us. The Lighthouse is always a part of the message we bring to new families. We are all hoping to serve at the Lighthouse very soon. There is an old gospel song that says “Thank you for giving to the Lord, I am a life that was changed!” Thanks so much for the nudge you have changed us all. Much love to you both, Laura, Carmen, and Caroline McCullough
46: Dear Buck and Eleanor, I would never know how to say thank you enough to you both. Buck when Brayden relapsed you called me just a couple hours after me finding out. You let me know if I needed anything at all to let you know. Those were words I needed so much at the time. To know people cared so much, that you knew about Brayden relapsing before I could even tell you. | I love how funny you are. How in a room full of sad parents, you have us all laughing. Eleanor how I love your smile and laugh. You define southern charm at its best. I don't think I have ever met a kinder person. On one of the hardest days of my life you went above and beyond and helped me through it. I still have a voice mail saved on my phone from you. If I ever need to smile, all I have to do is call my voice mail. Lighthouse would not be the same without you both. You guys are amazing. There are not enough words in the English dictionary to truly express how wonderful you both are. I am honored to know you both, and I love you both very much. Love Always, Maranda, Brayden, and Mason Martin
47: We know Buck and Eleanor from our first Lighthouse retreat 8 years ago. Our friendship continues and our family started attending North Point Church not long after that. It feels like God has sent them especially for us as helpers in many difficult situations and at the right time. They are loving, attentive and deeply care for other people. Eleanor is always vibrant with her smile every time we see her. She gives me so much advise that I will treasure. Their support and prayers has been a huge contributor in our marriage. Some people just pass you by, but Buck and Eleanor will stay many years in our future. The Cusan Family
48: My family attended a retreat in 2007 with Buck and Eleanor at Rosemary Beach. Our daughter, Grace, was diagnosed with Wilms Tumor in April of 2006. Honestly, at the time of the retreat, we were just so lost. The three of us felt run over and beaten down in our hearts. Buck and Eleanor – what can you say about two people who are true gifts from God? From the moment we met them, their pure spirit and joy just drew us in. They made us feel so welcome, and we began to let down our walls and enjoy the beauty of the beach and all the gifts that God has given us. Their remarkable faith and love for each other and those around them was an inspiration. Thank you, Buck and Eleanor, for picking us up, dusting us off, and sending us on our way with renewed spirit and hope for brighter days than those we had seen through our daughter's cancer battle. Our sweet Grace just turned 10 years old on 09/11/2001. We thank God for her presence each and every day. With love, Mary, Russell, & Grace Eubanks
49: Buck and Eleanor, You two are such an amazing example of sacrificial love and service. You all have touched so many families throughout your ten years with Lighthouse Retreats. You guys are truly our heroes as Sam and I frequently talk about volunteering with Lighthouse Retreats once we retire! Your listening ears and smiling faces were such a source of strength and reassurance to us when we so desperately needed it. | We all still greatly treasure the wonderful memories and friendships made during our retreat. I’m pleased to report that all is well with the McElroy family. Madie is now a happy, beautiful freshman in high school and has no lasting effects from her cancer treatment. She is a testament to prayer and we are so thankful for all the support we received during that difficult time. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts and we wish you both the very best. Fondly, Sam, Valerie, Sarah, Ryan and Madie McElroy
50: Our daughter,Mikayla, was diagnosed with cancer in September of 2007 and after her treatment we were in desperate need of some family time and spiritual healing. We were having a hard time finding a good time to travel from Chicago to Florida with my husband's busy work schedule. Buck called me one day to encourage us to come and he was so friendly and reassuring, as I was worried we were running out of time to make the one year out of treatment mark. He told me he would make sure there was room for us at one of the retreats and after our conversation I was even more sure that we needed to be at a Lighthouse Retreat. That following fall we headed to Watercolor for our first retreat. Buck was the first one to greet us as we got to Watercolor. He was so warm and welcoming. We immediately felt at home. Soon after we were introduced to his beautiful wife Eleanor. What an amazing couple! They were so supportive when we would be in Common Grounds and talking about our struggles. It's hard to open up about your feelings about what having a child with cancer can do to your family, marriage and faith. Buck and Eleanor never showed us anything but compassion and love during these times and that is amazing coming from a couple who have never been on this particular journey. Our daughters Mikayla, 9 and Nora,3 really came to love Buck and he had a way of making them laugh. He can put a smile on just about anyone's face. Buck and Eleanor gave everyone who came to the Lighthouse Family Retreat love, kindness, laughter and prayer and those are the most important things in this world to me.
51: Thank you Buck and Eleanor for dedicating so much of your lives to helping families like mine. I'll never be able to really put into words what you mean to me and my family. You are forever in our hearts. Bill, Megan, Mikayla and Nora Sweeney Chicago, IL - Watercolor Retreats 2009 & 2010
52: We were able to go to Lighthouse Family Retreat last summer and Buck and Eleanor Barber were the speakers for Common Grounds, and we truly loved the words of wisdom they had for our family. I recommend anyone that gets a chance to go to the Lighthouse Family Retreat to go when Buck and Eleanor Barber will be the host for Common Grounds and you will get the blessing of your lives. I hope are family can go back to Lighthouse Family Retreat next summer when Buck and Eleanor are the host and hopefully they will be. Please give them a big hug and kiss from the Templeton Family. Sincerely, Shannon Templeton
53: Buck and Eleanor, As the both of you are well aware childhood cancer is just plain bad. It can rob you of much joy and happiness. However, there are events, functions, visits and people that you meet during those dark times that restores some of the lost joy and hope. I can remember our first Lighthouse beach trip. Eleanor your hugs and concern for our family was medicine that was better than any prescribed by all the team of doctors that we see. Buck you remind me of a favorite cousin I have in Augusta that I see far too little. | Just as my cousin, you really know how to make me laugh and when we do get together it seems like our time apart has been only days rather than months, but more importantly behind all of the laughter you have a great for concern for the kids and the families that attend the retreats. This amazing work the both of you do for the lighthouse is certainly ordained by God and we are all the more blessed by your efforts. Throughout our lives we meet many people, some we see only for a moment, others we share controlled experiences with, and others we get to know more deeply through tragedy and difficulties that show the best and worst of our fragile human characters. Buck and Eleanor thank you for not ending the experience when the bus pulled away from the Lighthouse retreat. We love you and appreciate that you have chosen continue to journey with us. Mike Hopkins and family
54: Hello Buck and Eleanor, Before our June 2011 retreat I had received a call from a sweet man named Buck to verify that we were coming. Little did we know what an amazing and kind man you are and what a exquisite wife you are Eleanor. You both showed such love and compassion for our sweet Avery and our entire family. You have huge hearts and are SUCH A BLESSING to the Lighthouse! You are an integral part of making this retreat so amazing. Matt and I especially enjoyed our Common Grounds time with you. We are SO BLESSED that you crossed our paths and we were able to enjoy a week with you and the other volunteers and families. God bless, The Evans Family from New Richmond WI Matt, Jenn, Madelyn, and your girlfriend Avery!
55: Dearest Buck and Eleanor, Words can't express how much you have impacted our lives. We are incredibly grateful that you have given so much of your hearts and time to Lighthouse. You inspire the Talley family and all who come in contact with you not only with your faith, but with the wonderful example you set with your marriage. Thank you for sharing yourselves and Christ with our family. With Great Belief, The Talley's Britt, Dawn, Hannah & Elijah
56: In 2009 The Sikina's were blessed and so thankful to be asked to come on down to the Lighthouse. On blind faith we headed to Santa Rosa Beach. Not knowing anything about the Lighthouse, where our family will be laying our heads at night, who was going to take care of us, alls we new was God was in control and wanted us there, we put full trust in him and not question a thing. Wow, were we blown away when we entered. I will NEVER forget who came right up to us and introduced himself and gave us BIG hugs and Welcomed us to the Lighthouse! There was an aura about this man that I cannot explain, a feeling of LOVE and acceptance for our family right away. This man was Buck Barber! Buck made us feel like we are right where God wants us and were suppose to be, the connection felt like we have known him our whole life! At that moment, we new Buck was a Godly man, we saw the compassion in his eyes for what he was doing for the Lighthouse and for our family and others and we could not wait to learn more about him and meet his beautiful wife Eleanor! We were in a very dark place in our lives. My marriage was falling apart and our family had been stuck in our house for over a year at this point with no interaction with the outside world because we were worried about infection and complications for Nolan. We decided that we needed to get out of the house, find people who "get it" and accept our complicated lifestyles with out always having to explain why are son was bald, why was he sad and angry, why was he so weak. The Lighthouse family understood and didn't even bat an eye if our son was having a bad day!
57: Buck introduced our family to his beautiful wife Eleanor! You could read her beautiful soul in her eyes. I fell in LOVE with her the minute we hugged! Her soul just resonated with LOVE, understanding and the gift to accept us as if she has known us her whole life. Bob, Nolan, Olivia and myself Thank God each and everyday for him bringing Buck and Eleanor into our lives! I can TRULY say this that Buck and Eleanor are ANGELS on earth! They focus 100% on all the families, and having the Lighthouse flow beautifully, they put so much of themselves into each and every one of us, they give up so much of there own time to devote to this AMAZING organization! They are the HEART and SOUL behind the Lighthouse! Buck and Eleanor, Happy 10 year Anniversary with the Lighthouse. We LOVE you both with every fiber of our souls, I wish I could read this to you in person and give you both HUGE HUGS but know we are with you both in spirit!! We cant wait to come back and volunteer with you too!! God Bless you both, Bob, Becki, Nolan ( Cancer Free Survivor) and Olivia Sikina
58: Dear Buck and Eleanor, Thank you for all your love and dedication to the families that attended the Lighthouse over the years. You are both very special. We want to thank you for making contact with us to tell us about the Lighthouse. Not only did you call us several times, but you came to the hospital to visit us and encouraged us to consider attending the Lighthouse. We probably would have never gone if you hadn't made all the calls. We're so thankful you did. The Lighthouse retreats that we attended were wonderful for our family in so many ways. The time we spent there was so comforting and it was the first time we had any fun since Alyssa had been diagnosed. The Lighthouse allowed us to relax and not have to think about her illness. It really was an escape and to a beautiful place. We truly felt God’s presence. | We have wonderful memories of the Lighthouse, and the people that we met there. Both of you were always so warm and loving to everyone. Thank you for doing God’s work. You have made such a difference in our lives. I wish everyone who attends the Lighthouse could have the opportunity to meet you both. We are grateful you were put in our lives. May God bless you both. Love, Wade, Donna, Alyssa, and Ryan Ansell
59: It was our great pleasure to have a chance to know you guys through Lighthouse, Buck and Eleanor. In our memories, you are always smiling, young and energetic. The week we spent with you was one of best in our life. You brought so much love into our life and with this love, Matthew has become a college freshman at Emory from a pupil at Sope Creek Elementary . Thank you so much. Li's family
60: There are two people who have come into our lives and made a forever imprint on our hearts!!! I am talking about two tremendous people who have made an impact on thousands of those who have been loved on by Buck and Eleanor Barber. What an Amazing couple and what beautiful people inside and out!!!!!! Robert and I love you so much and think the absolute world of you both.... When we first heard about Lighthouse that is all I kept hearing was "have you met Buck and Eleanor?" I couldn't wait to meet the dazzling duo and let me say you are both God's gift to this world and people around you! We are forever humbled and grateful for ALL the love and support you give to Lighthouse and the endless hours of time you share to make such a special trip for families possible. Our time at Lighthouse was filled with many Awesome moments and countless cherished memories that we will remember forever...Cole and Ella still talk about Lighthouse and the friends that were made and the excitement they felt during our trip. You have such a special family and we are blessed that you made us fell such a part of something so wonderful. You have both made an impression on us of lessons with marriage, godly wisdom, and commitment to God's plan for our lives. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts and we celebrate the many years you have given to Lighthouse! You are our Blessings and we LOVE YOU BOTH, Robert, Sheli, Cole and Ella Upchurch
62: Buck & Eleanor, My family and I would like to congratulate you guys on sure a wonderful calling that God has you doing. My family and I didn't expect to be treated so kind, we were so an awe of it all. Til this day I still sit and think (my God was that trip real or were we dreaming). Buck when I meet you at my job that day I knew we would be in good hands, your such a wonderful person with a great spirit about you. Mrs. Eleanor, what can I say your simply an angel on earth, and I think God of letting us all borrow you. When I am around you I can't help but smile. You're such a delight to be around I love you two oh so much....Sonja | Hey Buck and Eleanor just want to let you two know that I appreciate everything that you two did to make my our stay with you guys as wonderful as it was,can't wait to see y'all again love you...Pooh You two deserve this honor I know you'll make many more families as happy as you made ours so enjoy it....Love,Pooh Sonja,and Angela
63: Our family feels so honored to have been a part of The Lighthouse Family. The experience this Summer was such a positive one for us! The staff were all amazing. I feel God placed everyone we met into our lives as part of His plan & purpose! Buck & Eleanor you are both so precious! We love you both and appreciate all you do to make this possible for families like ours. We loved the leadership and compassion you gave us all during Common Grounds. It was a wonderful to be able to met other families with similar struggles, share our stories & learn from each other. Thank you, Buck, for the call to check on Canaan. We have had some rough times since Lighthouse in July. Many of our Lighthouse friends called & sent messages to let us know we were in their prayers. Some even came by to visit and bring meals etc to us while we were in the hospital. It touched our hearts to know Lighthouse was not just for a week at the beach, but memories and friendships that will last a lifetime! God Bless you! The Lowery's Gerald, Stephanie, Canaan & Caleb
64: Our family was a patient family in '05 and '06 We returned as volunteers which we enjoyed even MORE than being a patient family. We hit the JACKPOT when we were placed with the Roberts family from Chicago! Buck and Eleanor were at all three of the retreats we attended. We love them dearly. Wish we lived closer to Atlanta. Joyce Zulovich and family Columbia, Missouri
65: Buck & Eleanor, We just wanted to take this opportunity to let you know how very much you both mean to our family. Following Hannah's original diagnosis in 2005, we desperately needed a getaway from everything. You immediately reached out and made us feel like part of your very own family. Louie, Tyler, Hannah and I fell in love with you both from the very first phone call. The time we spent together at Common Grounds, just confirmed what we already knew -- you were both God's hand extended offering peace, comfort, and strength to us all. Our second retreat, the following year, was no less spectacular. Hannah's sweet friend, Summer, had just learned of her relapse, and we all knew that it may be the last time we would ever be able to share a vacation together again. You both enveloped our families and helped us form memories that will last us a lifetime. Thank you so much for your love, friendship, and dedication to every family that has had the good fortune of spending a week with you at the Lighthouse. You will never know the impact you have had on us all and how very special you made that time together. I pray God's richest blessings on you both and wish you all the best in everything you do... Love and blessings, Tammy, Louie, Tyler & Hannah Layfield
66: Buck and Eleanor, What a beautiful couple you are...and how amazed at all that you do for so many. My family has been personally touched by your love and laughter. Thank you for being such a great inspiration to these families who are suffering so. You help to provide fun, support, faith, and happiness to each and every family, at each and every retreat! Thank you from the bottom of each of the Gonzalez' hearts. You have made a huge difference in our lives. Juan Carlos, Teri, Alex, Liam and John Charles Gonzalez
67: Dear Buck and Eleanor, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your help and dedication to Lighthouse Family Retreat. You've given nothing but your love and time and support to this great organization that has made a change in everyone's lives. You gave me hope and strength to get through today, tomorrow and all the hard days. Having a child with cancer- breaks hearts, and you both have made a mission to heal those hearts. Eleanor you are the mother I am missing in my life. The connection we made is unbelievable and I love you so much ! Thank you for all you do. Anyone whom is lucky to have met you, knows how much better the world is with you. God Bless. Love you! Ruiz Family Theresa, Rangel, Emilio & Mireya Sol
68: In August of 2006 our world turned upside down when our daughter Chloe was diagnosed with leukemia. Our world was filled with cancer treatment, chemotherapy, transfusions, a list of medications too long to mention, and even more so, the emotional worries and fear of losing our little girl. In June of 2007, we drove to Gulf Trace and pulled into our first Lighthouse retreat. Not knowing whether to unlock the doors, or keep them locked and drive on, we decided, very reluctantly, to pull into the driveway. We were greeted by our family partners, George and Sandy Kaufman, as well as Buck and Eleanor. Our guard was still up, but we could sense the care and love immediately from Buck and Eleanor that we were in the “right place”. It was the second day there, when the parents were going on date night, and Chloe and Luke were being left behind to fill their tummies with ice cream and popcorn and sit on the beach and watch a movie. Our first thought was we needed to stay to make sure they would be OK, yet we were assured once again, from Eleanor, that they will be fine and we “needed” this time away, even just for a few hours. We arrived at the restaurant and we were blessed to sit with Buck and Eleanor during dinner. We shared our story and our emotion with them, and both of them provided us strength, wisdom, and warmth that to this day will never be matched. It was at that dinner, that I realized God sat us with them for that exact reason, to help us realize that everything was going to be OK. How they served us, is how I measure myself, Chloe, and Luke to serve others when we volunteer, not just for Lighthouse, yet for how we live our lives daily.
69: Two mornings later we shared our story at Common Grounds, which Buck and Eleanor led, with the Pecks. Our nerves were at their peak, yet looking across the room and seeing Buck nod his head in a manner that it was going to be OK, was reassuring and allowed us to share our journey with the other parents. The two of them are truly amazing and I can't thank them enough for what they did for our family, and continue to do. What we can do, is live our lives and serve others in need, the same way they served us; unconditional and full of strength, courage, faith, hope, wisdom, and love! Thank you Buck and Eleanor! Tom, Leslie, Chloe and Luke Baker
70: Buck and Eleanor, You were our Common Grounds leaders on our first Lighthouse Family Retreat in October of 2009. Our daughter, Mycah was six and in treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Our experience at Lighthouse was nothing short of splendid. I (Angie) want to write our appreciation for you, and I will. But first, I'd like to share what I wrote on our daughter's Caringbridge site the night of our first full day of that retreat: | "...It was 2 years ago today that I decided to surrender everything and follow Jesus. Mycah was only a few weeks into her cancer treatment and I had come to the end of myself. I was in the darkest place I’ve ever experienced, scared to death, and in need of serious healing. I remember sitting alone with Jesus, crying. I brought Him the broken pieces of my heart along with the mess I had made of myself. Finally, I knew I couldn’t take another breath without Him in control of every part of my life. I wanted Him, no matter what that would mean for the future. I laid it all before Him at the foot of the cross. The most difficult thing I’ve ever done. Here I am 2 years later. It’s my anniversary of giving my entire life to Jesus. It’s our anniversary. It just tickles me to pieces that He brought me to the beach to celebrate. His tender mercy is worth anything, everything!
71: This morning I wanted to be sure to be on my knees in that sand before the sun rose. You know, I’ve never done that before. I’ve never in my life sat alone with Jesus and watched as He turned the night into day. I’ll never forget my first time. Then to think He arranged an afternoon at the spa for me and took me to dinner tonight—at a fancy place I’d never be able to afford on my own! He’s provided for my every need, and seen to every detail. Ahh, Sovereign LORD, You are just too much. Too much for my words, for my finite mind, for my mortal body and I love that about YOU!!! Happy Anniversary, Sweet Jesus. I had a wonderful time today. Thank you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. Psalm 63:1, 4-5" Buck and Eleanor, my memories of that very special time will always include you. The fragrance of Christ was thick as you served our family, extended love to all those around you, and led the broken hearts before you into the Word of Christ in the real sand of our current circumstances. Y'all were the very bread of Jesus and fed our souls for a few glorious days on the beach. We do not take it lightly, and I know He doesn't either. Let me take this opportunity to speak Jesus over you from the bottom of my grateful heart: Thank you for being our faithful servant leaders. With you I am sure He is well pleased. Thank you, sincerely. The Nichols Family--Chris, Angie, and Mycah
72: Dear Buck & Eleanor, The Hill Family loves you !!! Thank you for being a part of one of the best times my family has ever had. Buck, you and your wife are one of those couples that were truly meant to be together. Because with out Ms. Eleanor I don't know what you would do (smile :). You made us smile, especially Ms. Brianna as soon as we stepped out of our car in Florida. That was her first trip to the beach at 4 years old. You and all the volunteers there will be apart of that first time memory she will carry with her for the rest of her life. WOW, Dwayne and I love you both because you are a living testimony of what true love really looks like. WOW, Thank you for that. The Hill Family, Dwayne, Delia, Ms. Brianna
73: Buck & Eleanor- Thank you for your continued love and support. You are really making the difference in the lives of families with children who have cancer. I will always remember your smiles, encouragement and hugs. You are a true asset to the Lighthouse Family Retreat. Many Blessings- the Henderson's Paul, Diane, Caitlin, Travis and Sara Grace
75: "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 4:10,11b Buck and Eleanor, On behalf of the lives you have touched, Lighthouse Family Retreat would like to thank you for your dedication to our mission over the past ten years.