Football scholarships established in honor of Dickson twins

Wednesday, June 29, 2016
A scholarship fund was established in honor of twin brothers Mike and Larry Dickson, who died in an automobile accident in April. The fund, which has $4,633 starting out, including donations from the family and from area residents, will assist football players with expenses such as shoes, equipment and camp fees. According to their father, Kevin Dickson, who established the fund, the boys, who were known for their humor and fun-loving nature, were passionate about playing the game and enjoyed playing football with their buddies. Contributed photo

Funds to help Wildcats with football-related expenses

A scholarship fund to assist athletes with football-related expenses has been set up at the Cassville school district to honor 16-year-old twins, Michael and Lawrence Dickson, who died in an automobile accident on April 22.

According to Jill LeCompte, assistant superintendent for the district, individual donations totaling $4,633 were given to the district in honor of the twins, and officials have decided to establish a perpetual fund to assist football players who could not otherwise afford expenses like shoes, equipment and camp fees and more.

"The boys loved and played football," LeCompte said. "The items will be run by Coach Lance Parnell first. We have the Bright Futures program that can help with some things, but we don't really have anything to help with football expenses, so the funds are to go specifically to football."

"We always have a certain number of athletes every year that, financially, just buying certain equipment is tough, so any help out there is always beneficial," Parnell said. "With everything costing what it does, you always have some kins who are in need."

Parnell said each summer, football players go to a special camp at William Jewel College in Liberty the third week in July, which costs about $200 a student.

"We also have camp here as well, so the fund will be useful in multiple ways," he said.

The twins' father, Kevin Dickson, said his boys loved football and started playing at a young age.

"We started playing flag football in Cassville when they were real young," he said. "They were really into football with their buddies. My sons had some money in their bank accounts, so the funds came from their accounts and individual donations. That's what they would have wanted to do because they were really into helping other kids.

"We were looking for the best place to help out because there are always kids who are underprivileged. Sometimes, parents just don't have the money, which is unfortunate because the kids want to play."

Dickson said both boys played lineman for the Wildcats.

"Larry was a lineman and played all kinds different stuff," he said. "A lot of times, they played right next to each other. Mike was also a lineman. He was a big boy, about 6'1 and 235 pounds. Larry was about 5'11 and 180 pounds.

"Mike really took off the last year and a half. If Mike would have slowed down, I'm sure Larry would have caught up to him in size. [Mike] was born seven minutes before his brother. They were good-hearted, hard-working boys, always joking and making you laugh."

The fund is perpetual, so it can help future generations of football players for years to come, in remembrance of Mike and Larry Dickson's good-hearted, fun-loving nature, their desire to help others, and their love for football.

"Myself and some of my family members will pitch in to make sure it has money in it every year," Dickson said. "It's available now if the players need it. It will help with things like shoes and equipment. Cleats break and they can't always afford new ones.

"You can easily spend $100 on a decent pair of cleats to wear that are of good quality and help support their ankles. You get what you pay for. I hope it does some kids better."

Dickson said his boys practically grew up playing football with the members of their team.

"The boys played football with the same kids -- from flag football, peewee football, and on up," he said.

Dickson, who lives in Springfield, said he always attended his boys' football games, and plans to continue that tradition to support the boys and the team.

"I'll keep going to watch football," he said. "The boys are coming into their own real well. [It seems like] they turned into men overnight. They're doing amazing. I promised I'd be there to watch them. I'll be that dad in the wheelchair screaming, "Go boys."

Donations to "Mike and Larry's Fund" can be mailed or dropped off to the main offices of the Cassville school district at 1501 Main Street.

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