Jim Tuck is a beloved figure in the halls of Jamesville-DeWitt High School. So his absence last year was very noticeable. Although many students missed Tuck, they did not know what had caused his absence.
In the summer of 2016, Tuck was visiting St. John in the US Virgin Islands. “I was volunteering at an eco resort,” said Tuck. He was one of 60 people selected out of hundreds of applicants for the summer exchange program. “I was doing various tasks, from housecleaning to carpentry to landscaping.”
Tuck enjoys being in nature and participating in activities like hiking, which is why he is involved in J-DHS’s Outdoor Pursuits club. Unfortunately, hiking is what led to Tuck’s injury. He was hiking on an island trail that he had become very familiar with during his stay. “I had already hiked the trail twice that day, and on the way back I stepped and the trail slipped out from underneath me and I fell about six feet and broke my leg in two places,” said Tuck.
Tuck was then taken to another island where surgery was performed to fix the leg and a protective plate was inserted to stabilize it. This prevented him from being able travel home for weeks and when he was able to return, the plate had broken and infected his leg. Once back in the states, doctors replaced the plate and took muscle from his abdomen and put it over the injury. Then they grafted skin from his hip to cover up the plate and muscle.
Being away from school for so long took a toll on Tuck. “I missed the people,” said Tuck, “at times it was kind of gloomy but I had many people call and text me, come and visit me, which kept me going.” As a hall monitor and coach, he gets to talk to and interact with students a lot. “I missed the interactions with students,” said Tuck. Tuck is also an assistant coach for the J-DHS Junior Varsity football coach, so he also missed being on the sideline very much. “The first couple weeks were tough, but the other coaches would check in with me, telling me about the kids, telling me about the program,” said Tuck.
Mr. Tuck has gone through a tremendous struggle in order to get back here and so he does not take it for granted. Welcome back, Tuck!