Riding bikes, playing street hockey, shoveling snow off a stranger’s car and pepperoni with the burnt edges. That’s the Western New York that lives in Tom Doody’s heart, and that’s the experience he says you can’t get anywhere else.
In 1998, Doody was fresh out of a college and struggling to find work in Buffalo. So he packed up his belongings and headed west for a job in public relations and marketing.
He settled in Scottsdale, Ariz., with plans to eventually make his way back to the area. Two decades, a wife, two kids and two job changes later, Doody still hasn’t made it back to Buffalo, but his love for the Queen City and its people is stronger than ever.
Doody grew up on Morgan Parkway by the Town of Hamburg Beach in a family of first responders. His father was a Village of Hamburg police officer, his grandfather a state trooper. He credits his blue-collar upbringing for making him the man he is today.
“The 'City of Good Neighbors' helped me understand what being a neighbor was all about,” said Doody. “It's why (I do) volunteer work and giving back has always been a big part of who I am, and will always be a big part of how we raise our daughters.”
His fondest memories of growing up in Buffalo involve just being a kid.
“We used to just run through the woods and build forts, and just, you know, ride our bikes all over the place,” said Doody, who feels you don’t get those same opportunities outside of Buffalo.
Doody works as a financial consultant in Phoenix and has clients both in Arizona and Western New York. Because of his work, Doody comes back to Buffalo about four times a year. He spends a little more than a week every summer with his wife, Tracy, and their daughters, 8-year-old Ava and 7-year-old Violet, in the Western New York area. He then travels back three more times throughout the year to visit with his clients, friends and family in Buffalo.
While in town, he always makes sure to check out the restaurants and bars in East Aurora, Orchard Park and Hamburg. One of his favorite places is Hamburg Brewing Co., and, of course, he makes sure to visit Canalside and the downtown area.
“I’ve loved going downtown, just to see the growth down there,” said Doody. “It’s always exciting to go down there and see what’s new.”
Doody says what really stands out about Buffalo, and what keeps him coming back, is the people.
“The people there really make the community. And it’s everything else that goes around that. The passion for the sports, the food, the culture, the everything else,” said Doody.
Name: Tom Doody
Current location: Scottsdale, Ariz.
Previous location: Hamburg
Miss most about Buffalo: Family, the people
Love most about Scottsdale: Always something going on, the weather (except summer)
No matter where and how far away he lives, Doody will always share his Buffalove with everyone he meets.
“There’s just so much that’s misunderstood about Buffalo,” said Doody. “To change those misunderstandings, people actually have to go there to experience it. Experience the people, experience the food, experience the culture, experience the weather.”
Doody would love to move back to Buffalo with family, but for now, the risk is too high when it comes to his career. Though he has many clients in the Western New York area, he has too many clients in Phoenix that he would likely lose making a move cross-country. For now, he will just continue trying to build his client base in the Western New York area, and his visits four times a year to the Queen City will have to suffice.
“A piece of my heart, whether I’m there or not, will always be in the Buffalo area,” said Doody.
If you or anyone you know has a story to tell about moving back or to Buffalo, or about moving away, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alison Russo grew up in the Southtowns and lives in a suburb of Kansas City with her husband, Joe, and their two children. She works as a freelance writer and public relations/marketing specialist.
Story topics: Buffalove from Afar