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On A Mission (Ben Buchanan)

Fifth-year senior Ben Buchanan is looking to build off his best season as the punter for the Buckeyes. The Ohio State punt unit led the Big Ten Conference in fair catches and ranked third nationally in punts downed inside the 10-yard line. Although the team’s record wasn’t what the Buckeyes were hoping for, Buchanan was able to find a positive in it.

“As a punter it did provide some individual opportunities for me and I think our punt team did a nice job of seizing that opportunity,” Buchanan said. “I think we have a lot to build off of for this year. Coach Meyer is a man who really believes in the punt. Our meetings are intense and people are expected to know their assignments. It should provide a good punt team for us when we are called upon to deliver.”

Although success is important to Buchanan on the field, he has excelled in the classroom as well. He graduated this past spring with a bachelor’s degree in strategic communications and is now pursuing his master’s degree in sports management. Buchanan has been named Academic All-Big Ten three times and was a finalist for the 2011 Wuerffel Trophy, which is given to college football player who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.

“It’s tough to find that balance”, Buchanan said. “It really is the life of a student-athlete to its fullest. It is all I have ever known though.”

There is another area where Buchanan has triumphed at as well, paying it forward. He has been on three medical mission trips to the impoverished, third-world country of Honduras, through Central College Church in Westerville. Part of Buchanan’s responsibilities in an effort to provide free medical care to those in need, include counting pills in the pharmacy to setting up and tearing down medical brigades.

“I’ve been blessed to be raised in a family that really values helping others; and my Christian faith also tells me that is important” Buchanan said. “It is something that my family takes pride in and we find a lot of joy in doing so. When you see poverty of that nature first-hand it has a way of changing you,” Buchanan continued. “It made me much more appreciative of the opportunities that I have in my life and of the opportunity I have here at Ohio State.”

Buchanan was taught by his father, Dr. Buchanan and his mother Steli, the importance of giving back at a very young age and he now strives to be a role model for his two younger brothers, Luke and Nick, who have also completed mission trips.

“My dad has been the trail blazer in the family with the mission trips,” Buchanan said. “He has been on many and I really admire that about him. He is a great role model for us and someone I have always looked up to.”    

Future service is definitely in Buchanan’s plans and something he looks forward to, whether it is in Honduras or elsewhere.

“Honduras will always hold a special place in my heart,” Buchanan said. “It’s really been cool to get to go back every couple of years and just see how I have grown personally. I love the children there and just to put a smile on their faces makes it worth it. It truly is as much of a life changing experience for me as it is to the people we are providing care for.”   

Buchanan has set ambitious career goals for himself, ranging from becoming a university athletic director to serving as a television sports analyst. Whichever route he takes he will continuously pay it forward along the way.