Naming part of park after Lucas irks former commissioner’s wife

Filed under DAYTONA BEACH

BY JAMES HARPER
DAYTONA TIMES

The wife of a former Zone 5 Daytona Beach commissioner is upset that the athletic fields associated with Derbyshire Park are on the way to being named after someone whom she says “has done nothing for the city.’’

Madeline Young is the wife of Rufus “Buddy” Young, who served as the zone’s commissioner for 14 years before he died in 2002 at age 77.

After learning D’lorah Hyacinth, daughter of educator, coach and philanthropist Harold V. Lucas was going before the Daytona Beach Planning Board on Dec. 20 with enough signatures to have the baseball and football fields named in her father’s honor, Young said she was determined to make it to that meeting to speak against the request.

A done deal?
Young was among a half-dozen speakers at the meeting but was the only one who spoke against the renaming.

“It looks like it’s a done deal,” Young said in an interview with the Daytona Times this week.

The city staff recommended to the planning board that the athletic fields be named in Lucas’ honor and the majority of those present at the board meeting spoke in support of the renaming. The board members then voted unanimously to support the renaming of the fields. The request next goes before the Daytona Beach City Commission, which will make the final decision.

“He (Lucas) has done nothing for the city. Everything he has done has been for Bethune-Cookman University. Yes, he was an educator, but so was I and my husband,” Young noted.

Officer, educator
She reiterated that her husband also was a city policeman, a sheriff’s deputy, and a school administrator for 30 years. “He served this city well,” she remarked.

“I’m sure the records will point out what he has done for this city. He has done much work in this city. The Derbyshire Park is in an area in which he worked. It was in his zone. I’m sure with the accomplishments he has made he has made those on merit.

Anyone who is now working in City Hall can contest to the fact that he was a good commissioner,” Young continued.

Young said she would have done something earlier to have her husband honored with his name on it but was told before her husband’s passing that something would be named in his honor, which has yet to happen.

One promise made to her was from Pete Gamble, former executive director of the Daytona Beach Housing Authority, she said.

Young said Gamble told her after the completion of the New Pine Haven affordable housing project that a portion of it would be renamed after her husband. She explained that it hasn’t happened because Pine Haven has yet to be completed.

Now Young said she will be working to have the baseball field behind the new Midtown Cultural and Educational Center renamed after her husband. Young said prior to her current home, she and her family lived a block away for the baseball field.

Overhauling of the field along with the addition of tennis and basketball courts has yet to begin as the city seeks funding to complete the project.

Lucas speaks briefly
Young said she will attend the city commission meeting when the final decision is made on the renaming of athletic fields at Derbyshire Park.

She has been told that the basketball and tennis courts at Derbyshire Park still are up for renaming, but Young does not want Lucas’ name to dominate her husband’s at the site.

Lucas, who turned 80 this year, was present at the planning board meeting and spoke briefly.

“Anything I say will be anticlimactic. I’m just an old ball coach that spent 60 years or more trying to help the kids. They say only a fool represents himself as a lawyer so I let my daughter speak for me,” Lucas remarked.

Kudos for Lucas
D’lorah Hyacinth pleaded her case before the planning board about the renaming.
“I am happy to see the city has recommended going forward with renaming the field.

(My father has) contributed to betterment of city, state of Florida and U.S. I submitted an application of over 60 pages. He has touched the lives of hundreds, thousands of lives people who have gone out in the city, state around the country and are making differences where they are,” Hyacinth said.

Attorney Reggie Moore also spoke in support of the fields being renamed after Lucas.

“I think it is great we can do something while a person is living as opposed to when they are gone. He has done quite a bit for this area. Mr. Lucas is my high school football coach; he has been a friend,” said Moore, who is the son of former Bethune-Cookman College President Richard V. Moore.

‘Platform for success’
Bethune-Cookman University Athletic Director Lynn Thompson also was among speakers at the meeting who praised Lucas and his accomplishments.

Thompson noted in his comments that Derbyshire Park and its fields and courts were one of the few areas people of color before integration could participate – “but more importantly it became a platform for success for so many people.”

“As I look back over the years there have been generations and generations who have been touched by Coach Lucas – not only as a coach and administrator but as a very stern disciplinarian. That’s probably where he got his greatest claim to fame – setting kids straight,’’ Thompson stated.

“Some things are right. The timing is right. There will be no greater gift than to recognize someone who continues to influences the lives of young people and those who are young at heart by his actions and his giving. The Lucas name is synonymous with community service.’’

Local, statewide achievements
Hyacinth says her father deserves to have fields renamed in his honor.

Information about Lucas she provided included his service as a Korean War veteran, 40 years as an educator and administrator, 50 years as an athletic coach and philanthropist.

His daughter also noted that Lucas established the track and field program for the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, was selected to sit on the inaugural Educational Standards Commission, and developed the prototype for discipline guidelines in Volusia County Schools while serving as assistant principal at Mainland Senior High School.

Lucas’ father, Harold V. Lucas Sr., founded the business department at Bethune-Cookman and his mother, Beatrice Cato Lucas, was the first Miss B-CC (Bethune-Cookman College).

Hyacinth said B-CU has always been a major part of her father’s life because as a youngster he accompanied his father on visits to the school’s founder, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune.

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