PRAIRIE GROVE -- Don Ledford habitually invests time, personal resources and energy into Prairie Grove recycling in a manner of speaking what he received growing up from his home community.
As a high school athlete Ledford lettered in three sports, was named All-District linebacker his junior and senior years and All-District in basketball twice. Those achievements may have put him on the radar, but, according to Ledford, were not what he wanted to celebrate during his induction into the Prairie Grove Athletic Hall of Pride on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018.
"We were very successful. I played with some good ballplayers and we were pretty good," Ledford said. "But it's not really the athletic part that I am satisfied (with). It was after I got out. We, the families, built the fieldhouse. I got into the booster club and I've coached girls since the '80s and that's what I'm more proud of, giving back to my community, than what I accomplished on the football (field) or basketball (court). That's the main thing. I coached my daughter (Shelley Dougan). She's the head coach here at Prairie Grove Junior High, assistant senior high. That's what I'm proud of -- what I give back to the community from what was given to me growing up."
Among those inducted were Ledford's former coach, the late Ed Staggs, whose family represented him during the ceremony.
"Mr. Staggs, Coach Staggs, he was my junior high and high school football coach so I'm honored to be put on this with him," Ledford said.
Prairie Grove head varsity girls basketball coach Kevin Froud said Ledford's work behind the scenes generates a positive impact on the program.
"Mr. Ledford, he's Coach Dougan, my assistant's dad, and he does a lot of stuff for kids around here, does a lot of stuff for me and he brings in little kids and gets them fundamentals and gets them loving basketball. That helps us out a lot," Froud said.
Froud said Dougan learned the art of communication from her father, a skill essential to coaching.
"Everybody that knows Don knows that he can talk, he likes to talk," Froud said. "She (Shelley) does a good job. He's instilled the work ethic. I can see a lot of him, and also a lot of her momma (school nurse Kathy Ledford) in Shelley 'cause she works at the school, too. She's just a mixture of both of them."
During the induction ceremony, public address announcer Doug Smith hailed Ledford as a member of the Athletic Booster Club from 1986 through 2001 working to help purchase the sprinkler system, fence, bleachers for the football field, as well as uniforms for football, basketball, and baseball.
"He and other booster club members worked tirelessly to build the Prairie Grove Tiger Fieldhouse," Smith said. "Since graduation Ledford has volunteered countless hours coaching kids in basketball. He currently volunteers teaching girls third grade through sixth grade the fundamentals of basketball and the importance of hard work and good sportsmanship.
Prairie Grove head junior high girls basketball coach Shelley Dougan carries on the legacy of Ledford, her father.
"He's had a big part in a lot of girls' lives here," Dougan said. "He coached me when I was in elementary school and then has taught a lot of fundamentals to the younger ones growing up and just builds relationships with them and kind of follows them all the way through school."
According to Smith, "Donald has dedicated his life to giving back to the Prairie Grove community, always saying you get out of it what you put into it."
Dougan endeavors to incorporate that principle into her coaching.
"'You get out of it what you put into it,' his quote that's on his (Hall of Pride) plaque up there that is what I was told from third grade on when he coached me," Dougan said. "If you want to get somewhere you got to work hard at it. It's not ever given to you."Sports on 01/02/2019
Print Headline: Giving Back To Community