When people have a strong motivation that drives them to devote all their time and effort to something worthwhile, they are bound to find happiness; at least this is the case for Batavia resident Donald R. Carroll, who has spent countless hours helping local youth.
He is one of four inductees for the Oakfield-Alabama High School Hall of Fame ceremony, which takes place the first weekend in October.
For the last 35 years, Carroll has lived by his motto, “Pay it forward.” He graduated from Oakfield-Alabama Central School in 1974. Instead of following the trend of going off to college after getting his diploma, Carroll decided to join the workforce and focus on his passion for helping less fortunate children.
For his first organized project, he partnered with the Genesee/Wyoming YMCA to raise money to send kids to camp. The fundraiser was successful for 23 years.
Erik Fix, branch director of the Genesee/Wyoming YMCA said Carroll has collaborated with the organization over the years on many different occasions. Fix said most recently they have combined efforts on Don’s Secret Santa fundraiser to give gifts to children at Christmas time.
This fundraiser started because Carroll wanted to ensure every underprivileged child he was aware of was not disappointed on Christmas morning. This project has recently been expanded to provide grade school kids with supplies for school and winter coats.
Shortly after the camp fundraiser, Carroll switched his focus to helping students with college expenses. He started a 5k and 10k run in Batavia that ended in 2005 to support the Genesee Community College Foundation.
In 1997 he was named Geneseean of the Year (A person who has made an outstanding contribution to the community, contributed or volunteered beyond the call of duty and who is a resident of Genesee County) by the Chamber of Commerce.
Donald R. Carroll, the quiet, shy orphan who by chance grew up in Oakfield, NY, has become a true “Guardian Angel” of the less fortunate children of Genesee County.
Donald credits his success to having grown up in Oakfield and attending OACS where one individual in particular took a special interest in him. Donald will always be indebted to Coach Bill Burns for guiding him in high school, and getting him his first job as a counselor at YMCA Camp Hough. Coach Burns taught him by example about lending a hand, "paying it forward."
OA Alumni HOF dinner details: 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 3. at OA Middle High School. Tickets are $17. How to get tickets:
- 1. Write your check to "Dollars for Scholars"
- 2. Put "Hall of Fame" in the memo area
- 3. Mail check to -- Hall of Fame Treasurer, OACS, 7001 Lewiston Road, Oakfield, NY 14125