Giving back to the children
Malcom Dickey always taught his son to do his best work and David Dickey is never satisfied with the first attempt at anything. David worked with his father in the construction business for many years and Malcom assisted David on the baseball field, but David said he knows where he got his work ethic.
“I worked with daddy in his construction business and working with him taught me my work ethic,” David Dickey said. “He taught me always do a good job because your name is going to be on it. And that is what I try and tell my little boy. If I am doing something, I will tear it down and do it again. He will ask me why I did that and I tell him because I don’t like it. And I saw daddy do that a bunch.”
That work ethic was not lost on Dickey’s current boss, Troy Parks and Recreation Department director Dan Smith.
“I have known David since he was in high school and known him as a coach here in our system and it is easy to learn a lot about David by watching him and being around him,” Smith said. “He is a man of very strong faith and character and unbelievable work ethic.”
Dickey is the youth activities director at the recreation center, and his road to the top youth spot included several stints as a coach in the system. Dickey first got into coaching in 1991 and went full-time at it when his 13-year-old son Reed and 12-year-old daughter Jordan got involved in the baseball and softball league, respectively.
Dickey said his wife of 15 years, Britt, has always been there for him through all his endeavors.
In the early 90s he applied for the job, but did not get it.
“When Pam (Nix) and Vaughn (Daniels) were hired I put in for the job then,” Dickey said. “Looking back on it then I was too young. I wasn’t ready to do this job at 19-20 years old. I believe everything happens for a reason. I continued coming up through the program and there were about 2-3 years that I coached both of my children. I have always enjoyed baseball and sports have always been a part of my life.”
When he reapplied for and got the job two years later Dickey was going through a tough time in his life.
“About the same time this job came open daddy was fighting a battle with cancer and daddy passed away in February of 2007 and I got this job in the latter part of March,” he said. “I always said daddy came in here and pulled a few strings for me. He always knew I wanted to come out and work with this program. That is my story and I am going to stick to it.”
Dickey used the brand new job opportunity as a way to cope with the loss of his father.
“At that time, when daddy passed away, change is what I needed,” Dickey said. “And I came out here and it was Opening Day (for baseball and softball). It was real busy, so I didn’t have a whole lot of time to sit here and think about daddy’s passing. I needed that, so that really was a blessing.”
Dickey said he did not only lose his best friend when his father passed away, he lost his best friend.
“He was a big part of my life and he always helped me coaching and everything else,” he said. “Getting this job was like an answered prayer.”
That answered prayer may have been for more than Dickey. Cindy Dukes, TPRD administrative assistant, said having Dickey on staff is great.
“He gets along with everybody and he enjoys working with the children so much,” Dukes said. “I have two boys and whenever they come in here David is out there playing football with them or throwing the baseball with them. They love to come see Mr. David.”
Dukes said Dickey’s selflessness is what makes him so easy to work with. She said he is always trying to help others out and he is always quick with the office pranks.
“He is always playing a joke on somebody and he is quite the office prankster,” she said.
But when the time comes to be serious, Dickey answers the call to work.
“He will work seven days a week if the job requires that, but I will always remind him and all my staff that family and church comes first,” Smith said. “Any time you prepare hard and work hard you are going to have positive results and his work ethic is one of David’s strongest traits.”
Working with youth sports can sometimes be difficult, but Smith said Dickey has a way to smooth out any problems that arise.
“David is so fair when it comes to dealing with the parents and coaches,” he said. “He is always very firm. There are some times when he is put in a tough spot, but he always weighs what is in the best interest of the child and what is within the rules and policies of our department. It may not always be a popular decision, but he does the right thing.”
Dickey played football, baseball and basketball at Pike Liberal Arts and played college baseball for one year before coming back to Troy.
Working with children for a living is fitting for him, according to Dickey.
“This is something I have always wanted to do,” he said. “I enjoy doing activities and the whole nine yards with the youth program. Everyone that knows me knows I am a kid at heart and when I am around kids it is a question of who is the bigger kid, me or them.”
David Dickey is trying to give a little of what he has learned through his years back to the children of Troy if they are willing to learn.