Teamwork and Community: What Makes the World Go Around

by Cory Churches

james spading burackerHow many of us feel truly connected to a close-knit community, whether it is in our neighborhood or within a group of like-minded individuals? Is there truly a place where everyone knows your name? Well, in the Town of Luray, there certainly is a strong sense of community and a great team at work in the Luray Department of Parks and Recreation.

The team of Pat O’Brien, long time director of the Parks and Recreation department in the Town of Luray recently lost a key member, James “Spading” Bruacker. James was killed in a car accident on icy roads returning home from a little league game that he refereed.

James earned his nickname “Spading” from sound he made while chewing “Big League Chewing Gum” and spitting onto his metal bat in imitation of the pro ball players who chewed tobacco.

“James was a genuinely caring man who cared meticulously for Lake Arrowhead Park and always greeted the athletes when they arrived early in the morning,” said David Glover, race director for the Luray Triathlon. “He was concerned when someone left a towel or water bottle in transition and wanted to make sure the items (along with many other items) made it back to the owners. He arrived early and stayed late on race weekend. He represented what I like best about the Luray community – down to earth, friend, kind and caring.” Glover mentioned that he would often receive random emails from Spading throughout the yearwishing him happy holidays or merely checking in to say “Hi.”

Team Z, which has always had a tremendous presence at the Luray Triathlon since inception, felt the special care that James was known to impart on adopted members of the Luray community. “Our race experiences at Luray over the years are probably just plain unparalleled,” said Coach Ed, leader of Team Z. “Spading did such a great job to make race weekend top notch, and to make our team feel welcome. We sincerely appreciate everyone and everything associated with the park and race organizations.”

The Town of Luray and the Luray Triathlon will truly miss Spading. He was an integral part of what made the race experience so special and in the experience of everyone who participated, from athletes and volunteers to town leaders and business owners.


James is survived by his wife, Pam, and daughter, Rebecca. The Luray Triathlon has contributed $500 towards Rebecca’s college fund.

All athletes now have the option to make a contribution for Rebecca’s college at time of registration. We will pass on 100% of your donation for her college fund.

Donations are also being accepted on behalf of Rebecca at Pioneer Bank in Luray. Checks should be made payable to “Rebecca Buracker” and sent to:

Pioneer Bank
800 East Main Street
Luray, VA 22835

Be sure to include a note with the check saying it is for Rebecca Buracker’s account.

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Buracker family as well as those impacted by the Boston Marathon bombings.


Cory Churches is the volunteer coordinator for the Luray Triathlon, now in it’s 8th year.