OBX rallies for Dare County Schools’ Music Man John Buford 

By on September 14, 2023

John Buford (Photo credit: First Flight Middle School)

2023 Teacher of the Year announces cancer diagnosis

The Outer Banks community is rallying in support of John Buford, the much-loved Dare County Schools music teacher, who was named in late August as the district’s Teacher of the Year.

The First Flight Middle School instructor announced his diagnosis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia on Sept. 11, and the outpouring of responses is in full swing.  One GoFundMe campaign has been started by Alison Fulcher of Kill Devil Hills, who wrote that the “long-time director, singer and pianist…has helped to enrich the entire Outer Banks through his kindness, wisdom and talent.” Fundraiser by Alison Fulcher : Medical bills for one of the best (gofundme.com)

Another GoFundMe is being organized by Daniel Stockton in England, an old friend from college. Several days ago, he wrote that, “John has spent his life in love with music and has been working as a Music Teacher at First Flight Middle School and High School.” Fundraiser by Daniel Stockton : John Buford begins his fight TODAY 09-11-2023 (gofundme.com)

Another post on social media noted there is an account at Southern Bank for people to donate to help with John’s expenses. The First Flight High School HOSA Club is hosting a blood drive on John’s behalf Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 12:30-6:30 p.m. in the school gym. Those interested in registering online can go to www.redcrossblood.org and search FFHS.

And another local resident is making orange ribbon decals that read, “No One Fights Alone: #Buford Strong.” They sell for $10 apiece and in order to purchase, you can message @rachel_hayman , Mischelle Bryant Hayman, or Andrea Braymiller.

Having experienced first-hand the kindness and talents of John Buford over the years, the Voice joins those who are offering best wishes and rallying for him.



  • Travis

    A rare talent for this area and just one of the most decent human beings you could ever hope to meet. The kids at the school love him. If you never met John, imagine someone with Mr. Rodgers’ and Andy Griffith’s (his Mayberry character, not the Manteo Andy) DNA combined.

    I hope the community is able to raise every dollar he needs for treatment and that he and Carl stay strong through this battle. Me and mine will be holding them both in our warmest thoughts.

    Thursday, Sep 14 @ 7:27 pm
  • Fuarock

    That’s a shame, hope he and his partner find healing.

    Friday, Sep 15 @ 1:26 am
  • CancerSucks

    Horrible diagnosis. Prayers for a speedy recovery. This article is amazing and gives everyone in the community an opportunity to step forward and assist his fellow man.
    Here is an idea: For every cancer diagnosis here on the OBX, we publish it in the OBV and start a GoFundMe for each. Treatment is expensive even if insured. Not only do these patients/people need money, they need support such as transportation, house cleaning, maintenance and such. It is not always about money, its about the little things that we take for granted. Running errands, such as running to the pharmacy would be extremely helpful. Some people are too embarrassed to ask for help and they go lacking. We must do better.

    Friday, Sep 15 @ 9:48 am
  • Janice Conti

    So sad to hear this. Mr. Buford is amazing music teacher. My grandchildren enjoy being his music classes and have learn so much from him. His teaching skills and personality speaks for it self. Prayers as you go through the challenges ahead of you. You got this!!!

    Friday, Sep 15 @ 3:05 pm
  • Vickie

    Please, please, go to M. D. Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. It is the #1 Cancer Center in the world! Literally.

    Saturday, Sep 16 @ 6:44 am
  • Lisa Hay Loy

    The generosity of the Outer Banks community, for me, is legendary. It’s one of the many reasons I chose to move here more than 40 years ago. At the time I had very little in my pockets, but I was welcomed, and given helpful advice from the good local folks in my quest for a home here and a good job. Working for a local attorney, I was emersed in real estate closings. Realizing that’s where the action was, the experience led me to earn my real estate license. After a few good years with Sun Realty, I was given an opportunity to start my own business, Carolina Designs Realty. Like many Outer Bankers, locals and transplants alike, I live in gratitude. My husband and I have raised 5 children here, (Dare County schools are splendid). And, as the daughter of a Navy Captain, I’ve lived in many places, almost always near the sea. But it was here, on the Outer Banks, that I found my true Home Sweet Home.

    Monday, Sep 18 @ 2:54 pm
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    Love the story, Lisa.

    Monday, Sep 18 @ 3:42 pm
  • Cathy

    Mr. Buford has directed the Messiah at Christmas for years. He is so talented as a director and a singer and I have learned so much from him. I will keep him in my prayers.

    Wednesday, Sep 27 @ 7:13 am