Her picture is the first thing Art Weiner sees when he wakes up each morning and the last thing he sees before nodding off to bed at night. She’s his everything and always will be.
She, of course, is his beloved wife Alice.
“She was the most wonderful person I’ve ever known,” Art says. “We were only married 71 years. We were more than the usual married couple. We were friends.”
Alice Weiner lost her extended battle with Alzheimer’s disease, but Art Weiner carries on fighting for the causes she would have wanted. He’s particularly supportive of Alzheimer’s research and caring for vulnerable children, including those Buckner serves in Southeast Texas.
Art is financially supportive of the ministry through Buckner Children’s Village. His generosity and passion has helped minister to children at their most vulnerable.
He’s also sponsored parties that bring the children in Buckner Emergency Shelter together so they can relax and enjoy themselves. Children come to the shelter where Buckner staff members assess their needs so they can best be matched with foster families.
“Children are simply drawn to Mr. Weiner,” says Laura May, executive director of Buckner in Southeast Texas. “He’s made an incredible difference in their lives when they most need it. They gather near him to hear his stories and soak in his wisdom. He inspires children to do their best in school and reach their full potential.”
Time and time again Art creates very special memories for the boys and girls at Buckner. Most notably, the children came together with Art for an Independence Day party that included a local veterans group, as well as guests from Pelican Bay.
“It was a very memorable moment watching the children’s faces as two of America’s finest demonstrated the folding of the flag,” Art said,” they shared the meaning of the flag and the ceremony. Most of the boys and girls had never seen this before, and they loved it.”
Young people particularly love hearing stories of when Art played baseball.
“They’re willing to talk,” he says. “They want to talk. We talk about all kinds of things. That’s what this is all about – to provide educational materials and meet their needs.”
Art has connected with the children and enjoys providing opportunities that allow them to tuck away memories of special events they will never forget. The majority of the children he visits reside in the Emergency Shelter at Buckner for 30-90 days, and though he rarely sees the same child twice, he connects with each group he visits in the same way.
“They are kids who have gone through a tragedy,” Art says. “Their lives have been disrupted and they aren’t quite sure what’s going to happen to them next. I just encourage them to get an education, study, work hard and choose to do something in life that they enjoy doing…then it’s not work. The skies the limit to what they can do with their lives.”
Looking at the picture of his wife, Art smiles. She would have been proud to see the joy on the children’s faces at Buckner.
“Everything I do is in her name,” he says. “Everyone knows of her. I have a huge photograph of her in our bedroom. It’s what I see before I go to sleep. It’s what I see when I wake up. I talk to her. I talk to her all the time. I talk to her about what I’m doing on her behalf.”