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Thaddeus Buczko Honored

IMG_0803_2013AwardsforwebMASSACHUSETTS – On March 24 at the Willets-Hallowell Center at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, the Kosciuszko Foundation’s Western Massachusetts chapter hosted a luncheon and concert. This annual luncheon honors the Kosciuszko Foundation scholarship and grant recipients.

Tuition scholarships, ranging from $1,000 to $7,000, are provided annually in all disciplines to Polish-American students and Americans undertaking Polish studies in the United States. The foundation also provides grants and fellowships ranging from $7,650 to $25,000 to Polish scholars to conduct research at American universities.

In photo above right: L-R: Marek Lesniewski-Laas, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland/Boston, Carolyn Czaja Topor, President of the Kosciuszko Foundation – New England Chapter, and Hon. Thaddeus Buczko.   The honorable Thaddeus M. Buczko, of Salem, was for decades the most popular Polish-American political leader in the commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Following the introduction of this year’s scholarship winners, Springfield architect Stephen Jablonski, who served as chairman of the selection committee, introduced the Honorable Thaddeus M. Buczko, this year’s Distinguished Polish-American for 2013. He was the unanimous choice of the Kosciuszko Foundation Board of Directors.

Ted Buczko, a charter member of America’s “Greatest Generation,” served aboard the USS Bearse in World War II. He returned to the North Shore and took advantage of the GI Bill, graduating from Norwich University and Boston University Law School. He joined the U.S. Army Reserve in 1949. He served in the Korean War, retiring from the Army Reserve in 1979 with the rank of colonel.

Buczko practiced law in Salem, served on the City Council from 1956 to 1964 and was elected to state House of Representatives, serving the 10th Essex District from 1959 to 1964.

In 1960, he was a key player in the John F. Kennedy presidential campaign effort to win back the vote of Polish Americans. He traveled to heavily Polonia-populated states to whip up enthusiasm for the Massachusetts Democrat.

In 1964, Buczko made his first run for statewide office. In his successful campaign for state auditor, he defeated his opponent by more than 300,000 votes. For 16 years, he was the recognized spokesman for the Polish-American community in the state.

In 1981, he became the presiding justice of the Essex County Probate & Family Court. Today, he is a member of the board of overseers of Peabody Essex Museum in Salem.

– Stephen R. Jendrysik 

– Stephen R. Jendrysik is Chicopee city historian, a member of the Chicopee Historical Society’s board of directors and president of the Edward Bellamy Memorial Association