Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

No Bad Days for Bunk Wurth

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

No Bad Days for Bunk Wurth

Article excerpt

These days Bunk is confined to a wheelchair, yet he possesses the kind of inner strength and an infectious smile that can help lift the spirits of a room full of people.

He also has maintained complete control of his destiny.

According to Alec Bernard "Bunk" Wurth, there just are no bad days. To understand the significance of his personal motto, all one needs to know is that eight years ago, this strapping 6'3" athletic young man, an educator and artist, was paralyzed from the neck down, following a tragic play with his club rugby team, the OC Bucks. Bunk loves the game of rugby and he had played it hard and with passion. Of the life-altering play that day, Bunk recalls: "The play was coming back towards me and the guy with the ball came at me. I was attempting to make a tackle but my arms were basically tied up and my head got in the way." On impact, Bunk's head snapped to the side, right above his right ear.

Today he says, as a matter-of-fact, "It was an injury, I wasn't dead. It didn't bother me a bit."

Now Bunk is confined to a wheelchair, yet he possesses the kind of inner strength and an infectious smile that can help lift the spirits of a room full of people. He also has maintained complete control of his destiny. What keeps him moving forward are the constants in his life--that is, the very same things that had kept him strong and focused before his injury happened: a loving, caring family and true friends. Also, Bunk has immersed himself into his life's work... educating and mentoring children with special needs; painting the American flag; creating and enjoying life. Following his injury, Bunk's friends rallied to cheer him up. Instead, they reminisced, he ended up making them feel better.

California Boy Embraced Arts and Sports

Bunk Wurth was born to Richard and Sally Wurth in the early 1970s and raised a Roman Catholic in Orange, CA. "Bunk" originally was his grandfather Bernard Wurth's nickname. His grandmother gave him the same name on the day he was born as she thought he looked so much like Bernard. Sally said, "He was always called Bunk from then on. His students at the Speech and Language Development Center called, and still call him 'Mr. Alec'. His work colleagues there call him Alec. Everyone else, even the nuns and teachers at his parochial grammar and high schools, have called him Bunk."

He always loved art-painting, doing wood carvings, and photography. During his teenage years, Bunk started painting the American flag, which was only natural, for he has family in the military. He continued to do so throughout his art career. After he sustained his injury in 2006, he had to learn to paint the flag using his mouth. But art was only one of his passions. Together with his friends from Servite High and Cal-State Fullerton, Bunk also participated, full speed ahead, in all kinds of sports and rugged outdoor activities.

Art and Teaching Kids with Special Needs

Teaching is Bunk's calling. He is a Special Ed teacher who has taught moderate to severe special education students at the Speech and Language Development Center (SLDC) in Buena Park, CA, a school totally dedicated to Special Education. The reason Bunk always loved teaching students with special needs is that he knew he "was good at it." He also had a sense of what it was like to struggle in school. In addition, he discovered that he possessed a reservoir of patience when it came to children; they are innocent and, if the issue is that they are unable to learn in traditional ways, he liked to figure out how to reach and educate them in non-traditional ways.

Sally observed that Bunk's students loved him. As a parent who accompanied her son on field trips with his class, she admitted to being amazed at Bunk's skill and capability with his students. "He was strict," she said, "but what was so telling was that he treated them as any other student, with expectations for them to learn and behave. …

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