But what really defined Bud Wruck, was his love of flying— paragliding to be precise. He trained with a group of enthusiasts in Central Texas, and his interest in the sport developed to the point that he became one of the foremost paraglide instructors in the world. His teaching took him to places like Indonesia, Austria and Slovenia where participants used mountains as launching points, catching updrafts to stay aloft. In flat terrains like Texas, Bud used motorized paragliding; either towing the rig from a truck or using a backpack motor to put air under the parafoil. When the weather was good, he gave certification classes on Quintana Island, running his truck up and down the beach.
In January 2011, Bud met Mike Stephenson who was just starting work at the Quintana terminal. Bud gave Mike his facility tour and assigned him his computer based training programs. It was not long before they were fast friends. Both men shared interests in hunting and fishing and they would often go dove hunting together in Sabinal, Texas. Because Bud was part German, he also had inherited impressive skills to make a remarkable variety of sausage.
Anthony "Bud" Wruck was born 50 miles from the Freeport LNG terminal in the tiny town of Damon, best known for cotton gins, limestone quarries and a rich German and Czech heritage. Bud lived in an old family house less than a mile from the house in which he grew up. He learned how to fix everything and took great pride in continually refurbishing the old family homestead. His curiosity and broad interests would shape him as quite the Renaissance man. He worked for many years as an operator at BASF in Freeport. Prior to that, he found time to become a world-class taxidermist and fishing and hunting guide in Alaska and New Mexico. In 2007 he joined Freeport LNG as a lead operator, then moved from operations to HSSE as the Regulatory Training Coordinator in 2010.
Michael Stephenson recounts his friendship with Bud
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When Bud was approached to give a beach preservation presentation for Stephen F. Austin Elementary School, Bud enlisted Mike's help. Together with Texas Parks and Wildlife (who donated dune grasses) and Brazoria County Park (who hosted the dunes location) they instructed the students on the importance of dunes preservation, showed them how to plant stabilization grasses and kept them abreast of the grass's progress.
More recently, Bud and Mike offered a school program, in conjunction with the semi-annual beach cleanup, about how urban trash affects wildlife on Quintana. After the instruction, the students gathered trash from the beach, collecting over 1000 bottle caps alone.
"Where in the World Have You Been with Bud?"
During this same period, Bud continued his paragliding instruction. But on his annual visit to Slovenia in 2014, at one of his favorite places in the world to go flying, a familiar landing went terribly wrong. At his funeral near Damon, the huge outpouring testified to how many lives he had touched. On a poster inside the funeral home was a map labeled, "Where in the World Have You Been with Bud?" There were dozens of pins already displayed when the doors opened, and they steadily multiplied as his friends continued to arrive. He will be terribly missed, but all the things he did for friends, co-workers and community will live on as evidence of a brave and big heart.
THE ISLE - FREEPORT LNG REPORT FROM QUINTANA ISLAND - SUMMER 2015