A chat with Dot Day Parade Chief Marshall Jeff Buckley

2024 Dot Day Parade Chief Marshal Jeff Buckley with his daughter Makena. Photo courtesy Buckley family

A lifetime Dorchester resident, Chief Marshal Jeff Buckley, now 48, attended Mt. Hope High School in Bristol, RI., and then enlisted in the US Marine Corps. Today, he is a union steward with Local 223 where he has worked for 25 years.  He is married to Jaime Lynn Buckley, and they have three children. The Reporter recently had an opportunity to connect with him.

Q. What was it like for you growing up in Dorchester?
A.  I think it was the best place in the world to grow up. I loved hanging out in the park. As a kid, you wake up and go to the park and everyone is playing sports. It’s a great community.

Q. What is it like raising your own family on your home turf?
A. A lot is the same. A lot of the kids I grew up with, they’re here and now they have kids. So, my kids are hanging out with their kids, and it’s great.

Q. What inspired you to enlist in the Marines?
A. While deciding on going into the military, I looked at all of the options, and the Marines seemed like the hardest one to get into and the best one, so I chose to go with that.

Q. What is it like to be a Marine?
A. It was some of the best and worst times of my life, but I would make the same decision to join every day.

Q. How have you been and continue to be involved in the Dorchester community?
A. One of the contributions that I think is worth mentioning is I ran a fitness program for about fifteen years out of All Dorchester Sports League before Covid and that meant every day picking kids up at 4 a.m. before school and then they’d come back after school to exercise. Covid made that tough, so we began meeting up outside at the park and doing things like running hill sprints and other exercises like that. I think that really helped kids make better decisions– it helped the kids have a place to go. So many of them have gone on to do great things. It was a great thing for them to always have a place to go to get them off the streets. I get letters still from them thanking me and telling me about their lives and being on the right path and that means a lot.

Q. What does Dorchester mean to you?
A. It means everything – it’s my whole life. Watching the changes over the years, I just love it. 

Q. How have you celebrated Dorchester Day in the past?
A. Growing up it was mostly going to the parade with my friends and now I go with my kids and obviously, it’s a different kind of celebration when you’re younger versus being a parent, But either way, it’s always a great time. Now bringing the family, I get to see my kids enjoy it, and that’s great.

Q. What was it like to find out you were this year’s Chief Marshal?
A. I was shocked and kind of taken aback for a minute, but I was very excited, very happy, and very honored. It is cool - really cool.

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