McDowell County man gives school enough fitness equipment to shape lives

Diesel Buchanan, News 13’s Person of the Week. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

Our Person of the Week is a muscle-bound mentor who made a generous donation that could impact students for years to come.

“A lot more than just the fitness side of it, it’s setting goals. Setting achievable goals,” Diesel Buchanan said.

His passion for fitness goes back to his childhood in McDowell County, so it’s fitting he provided a gift that helps kids harness their potential.

After starting Southeast Fitness in January, he had some extra Nautilus equipment worth close to $100,000. He recently gave it to West McDowell Middle School, and the donation is already being hailed as a gamechanger.

“It’s a complete 16-piece system that you would see in a commercial gym,” Buchanan said.

He said he couldn’t have done it without the help of Sherman Davis of Davis Towing. They donated their services and moved all the equipment to West McDowell.

“Euphoric,” he said, describing the feeling of seeing the use of his donation. “You know, it’s a dream come true for me to be able to see kids use equipment and things I’ve been able to provide for them. Things that weren’t available to me at that age.”

Fitness teacher Scott Page hopes his kids realize that establishing a healthy routine is like discovering the fountain of youth.

“I’m trying to teach lifestyle,” Page said.

When Page looks around the room, he’s amazed by the wall to wall donation with the power to build muscles and confidence.

“So, I’m extremely excited about the opportunities that they have now,” the teacher said. “I feel extremely blessed, and I told the kids they don’t realize the opportunity they just got. I don’t know of any other middle school anywhere that has what we have. We have a total gym.”

The Diesel Buchanan who’s the picture of health today thinks back to the image that shows us where his journey began.

He showed News 13 an old, ninth-grade photo from 1988 at East McDowell Middle where he was part of the first weight training class.

“I had the whole mullet thing going on back in the ’80s,” he laughed. “Just was born with some sort of innate drive to want to lift and being into physical fitness and things of that nature.”

What Diesel’s done for West McDowell Middle provides the foundation for something that’s as much mental as it is physical.

“Reaching your goals toward your grades, toward anything you are striving to do, and for me, it became such a lifelong passion,” he said.