Dukes is 2014 Outstanding Citizen

Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Outstanding Citizen of the Year, educator Roy Dukes, is pictured with his wife Louise, after being honored by the Chamber of Commerce during their luncheon at the Rec Center last week.

By Karen Hall


Educator Roy Dukes, who gave a lifetime of service to the students of Marshall County, was named Outstanding Citizen of the year when the Chamber of Commerce held its Fourth of July Celebration at the Rec Center last Friday.

Dukes, 71, was nominated by his sons Cedric and Landon.

"Mr. Roy Dukes (our dad) is a well-respected retired educator in Marshall County and across the state of Tennessee. From sports to academics, he has been instrumental in promoting the education of students and teachers everywhere his career has taken him," begins the boys' nomination of their father.

Chamber of Commerce President Vicki Cain read the nomination, which describes Dukes' life and achievements, and his enduring love for the students he coached and taught.

Those who knew Dukes only as principal, coach, or Director of Schools, may not realize all the work he has done in the community. Dukes has been a president of the Lewisburg Housing Authority and the Rotary Club. He has been named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary, and received the NAACP's George Turner Award of Excellence. Dukes is also active in the Greater First Baptist Church, where he is chairman of the Deacon Board, teaches Sunday School, is a member of the men's ministry and the church financial committee, and sings in the chorus and choir.

"The advice he likes to pass on to the youth of the county comes in two parts," wrote Cedric and Landon. "One, stay in school. That's where opportunity comes, work hard ... Two, his parents didn't expect anyone to give him anything. You must do it yourself."

The nomination ends with two of Dukes' favorite quotes.

"Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed." -- Booker T. Washington.

"Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. ... You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love ... we're all precious in God's sight." -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Accepting the award from Cain, Dukes quoted the teachers' prayer he learned at Morris College, where he got his bachelor's degree.

"Lord, Enable me to teach with wisdom for I help to shape the mind.

"Equip me to teach with truth for I help to shape the conscience.

"Encourage me to teach with vision for I help to shape the future.

"Empower me to teach with love for I help to shape the world."

"All of us have a part of that teachers' prayer in us," Dukes said.

He also quoted the first verse of the 27th Psalm: "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"

"There is no space to be afraid" in teaching, or in life, Dukes said.

"I could not have done it without my lovely wife and my sons," he concluded. "They never complained, they just said, 'When is he going to come home and eat?'"