BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — Tim Buchanan loved spending time in and around the Maumee River, and he did everything he could to help others feel the same.
The 42-year-old Maumee man owned River Lures Kayak Adventures in Grand Rapids and devoted himself to getting people out on the river. Sadly, on May 17, he lost his life in an apartment fire in uptown Maumee.
While the investigation into what caused the fire remains ongoing, his family is working to move forward to honor him as best they can. On Sunday, August 1 when Tim would have turned 43, a river cleanup event to be followed by an evening of live music has been planned in his honor.
“He would be really proud to see this because he didn’t think there were enough people who cared enough to keep the river clean,” said his mother, Nicky Buchanan.
Tim often organized cleanup events along the river because he could not stand seeing pollution in it, she said.
“He despised people that left their trash out in the parks and the river. It was one of his pet peeves. He really hated that,” she said.
Allison Schroeder, of Nature’s Nursery, is helping to organize the river cleanup event. Nature’s Nursery is a wildlife rehabilitation and conservation organization for which Tim often volunteered. The event coincides with the organization’s mission to keep the waterways clean of debris, which is often deadly to local wildlife.
“We take in a lot of animals every year that are injured because of waste along the river,” Schroeder said.
Geese that have amputated feet from fishing line or turtles with hooks in their mouths are not uncommon to find, she added.
“A lot of it is fishing-related, but some is trash-related,” she said.
Nature’s Nursery has teamed up with the Metroparks Toledo to organize the event, which is free, although registration is requested so coordinators can prepare accordingly.
Later in the evening, Wild Side Brewery in Grand Rapids will host an event in Tim’s honor with live music, a 50/50 raffle and drink and food specials. Owner Nick Scott said the two men often teamed up to offer kayaking and restaurant specials.
“The river is where he spent all of his time and his second passion is music, which is why with this event we are going to have a river cleanup in the morning and then live bands in the evening,” he said. “It was very shocking to everyone when he died because he was such a resilient, energetic guy. It was just very sad.”
Nicky is hoping many people come out not just to honor her son, but also to appreciate the river area as much as Tim did. She also hopes that the event will continue annually.
“Tim was hoping to start another kayak business in Tennessee where his brother lived. That was his dream – it was to get people out on the river. He always felt that the river was very peaceful,” she said.
Described as a person who was never satisfied with the ordinary, Tim was as creative as possible with the kayak business he took over four years ago. Those skills were especially important during COVID-19, when business really took off. According to Nicky, Tim had introduced several new paddle adventures, including yoga and kayak in the morning, kayaking with your pet and moonlight kayaking. The adventures often accompanied bonfires, barbecues and dinner at local restaurants.
“Anything he could do to get people out on the river, he would do,” Nicky said. “He always thought that time on the river was not wasted time. He got so many people doing something different and fun – they were constantly busy. He was so proud of that.”
The River Cleanup Tim Buchanan Memorial will take place on Sunday, August 1 from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Volunteers may gather at the Rotary pavilion at Side Cut Metropark, where tasks will be distributed. To volunteer online, please visit https://www.natures-nursery.org/events/2021/8/1/river-cleanup-tim-buchanan-memorial.
For information about the evening event, please contact Wild Side Brewing Company at (419) 389-2776 or visit https://wildsidebrewing.com/.