Father Figures

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Father’s Day is a time to honor and thank dads, but many kids across the country are being raised in households without fathers. That’s where Dale Long comes in, stepping in as a “big brother” – and encouraging others to do the same. Reed Galin reports.               

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(Locator: Dallas, Texas)

“Ready to go? Let’s hit it.”

Dale Long has been a friend and a father figure to many young men.

Dale Long/Big Brother: “Grandma used to make those quilts. I’ll bet your grandmother used to make them, too, huh?”

Dale has been a volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters for three decades.  One of Dale’s protégés, Pierre Rhodes, is now in college.

Pierre Rhodes/College Student: “No matter how hard your mother tries, there are some things she just can’t teach you.”

Dale Long/Big Brother: “These kids are everywhere. Grandmothers are raising kids now.”

Dale has spent countless hours with six “littles” over the years. His biggest challenge is 15-year-old LaDaruss, who’s autistic and lives with his single mom.

Dale Long/Big Brother: “I’ve taught him some of the things that he needs to do in dealing with his special needs. He’s taught me patience.”

Pamela Nwachukw/LaDaruss’ Mother: “I feel like Dale is a big part of our family. And, you know, he’s been very helpful to my son in a lot of ways, helping him to be more sociable.”

Dale during church service: “Hallelujah.”

Dale recruits mentors from his church, Hamilton Park United Methodist in Dallas, and United Methodist men’s groups. And he signs up members of his college fraternity to become big brothers.

Dale Long/Big Brother: “I’m going to tell them all about you, okay? Because everywhere I go around the country doing something like that, they all know about you.”

Dale was also named National Big Brother of the Year. But he says his biggest accomplishment isn’t measured in awards.

Dale Long/Big Brother: “All of them are leading successful lives. I’d like to believe that I played an important role in that happening, and being there for them. And I know that there are a lot more opportunities out there.”


Dale Long has two daughters. His wife Ellen recently signed up to become a Big Sister.

Visit the Big Brothers Big Sisters Web site for more information on how to volunteer.

Also, see: Texas man mentors boys through Big Brothers and Profile: Dale Long