by Jason "Aeston" Rosa
We lost Buddy Wolfhope far too soon in his life. Many of us remember tromping through the woods alongside Brighthammer, beset on all sides by danger, or joking with Arg as he responded with his trademark phrase and a shrug, or loving to hate Dr. Slashblight and the villainy he sought to inflict on the Realms. Those of us who were lucky enough to spend many years with Bud remember a man who was funny, caring, and joyful pretty much every day of his life. He spent a long time giving his friends the best of himself and trying his best to do well by this community.
So this past Saturday we did our best as a community to do well by his memory. Bud believed very heavily in the Take This Foundation and the good that it could accomplish for the groups that he felt closest to. It was a fitting tribute to him to try and do just a little more for them in his name.
In Bud’s Honor was a community effort in the truest sense of the word. The auction tables (and there were eight of them) overflowed with items from people all across the game. Even if people couldn’t personally be in attendance, they took it upon themselves to contribute however they could. Individuals donated expertly made weapons, garb, and crafts, all kinds of services, event certificates to pretty much everything, and much, much more. From the planning stages to the execution many different people cooked food, organized activities, helped to set up and worked together to make the night successful. People from all across the Realms attended - after all, Bud’s friendship and character knew no national border. People came to gamble, to buy auction tickets or bid on the live auction prizes, to play Bingo, to whack at a pinata, to drink and to eat a delicious, hearty dinner in the style he loved, and to write on The Wall of Bud, sharing memories of who Buddy was and what he meant to us.
We were successful at two goals on Saturday. The first of which was to raise money for the Take This Foundation. To that end the community raised over $5300 that night. To put it together with the very successful Fight-a-Thon that ran at Tournaments of Blackwood, the total that the Realms has put together for the charity that Bud cared so much about is in excess of $11,000. That is a stunning, significant number that will, no doubt, accomplish a lot of good.
The other goal we had, and one that I feel was equally accomplished, was to simply remember our friend.
As I drove home from the event on Saturday I couldn’t help but reflect. Our community has been around a very long time. I’ve been lucky enough now to have seen the majority of its existence, if only slightly so. During those many years we’ve celebrated engagements and graduations, marriages and births, all as a group of friends and companions. These are all great, happy occasions and it speaks well of who were are that we can rejoice in them together even across cliques and nationalities. But there are also times like these, where as a community we experience loss. In those times, however, we have also unfailingly come together. We’ve come together to grieve, we’ve come together to honor our departed friends, and we’ve come together to accomplish good, charitable things in the name of those we miss. Much more than celebrating the happy times, uniting together in the hard times shows the character, the true depth of who we are as a people. It’s during those moments, I think, that we should take the most pride.
Our deepest gratitude to all of you who contributed to or attended In Bud’s Honor. There are certainly those more worthy to speak for Buddy than I am, but nonetheless I thank you on his behalf as well.