Twenty-seven years later, Ted McDaniel remembers where he was when another sixth-grader, standing beside him after band class, uttered these stinging words: “You stink.”
Right after school, McDaniel rushed home and told his parents about the insult. He has used deodorant every day since. He stinks no more.
“Everybody has a story about growing up,” McDaniel said. “Either when they were bullied or made fun of. Everybody has something like that when they were told they were fat or their clothes were dirty or their shoes were falling off. Those words can be vivid years later. They can have a lasting impact. Bulling is 24/7.”
So McDaniel, 39, a 1998 Fairfield High School graduate, decided to do something to reduce the possibility of bullying. Less then two years ago he formed a non-profit to assist students in need within the Fairfield Schools called Dougie & Ray’s, named in memory of life-long educators, Doug Heesten and Ray Bauer.
Those two men dedicated their lives to investing in the future of young people. Now McDaniel carries that torch.
Heesten was the Vice President of Institutional Advancement for Cincinnati State from 1993 to 2011. He died of skin cancer two years ago. He was 67.
Bauer was principal of Milford High School from 2003 to 2009 when he died of a heart attack 10 years ago. He was 63. There is a memorial area in the high school called “Bauer Commons.”
McDaniel met Heesten and Bauer at Mount Airy United Methodist Church where their families attended. From there, their families and friendships grew together. When he had a question, he sometimes sought the advice of the two men, whom he called “like second fathers.”
He said the three families were “very intertwined.”
Naturally, he wanted to continue their legacy of helping children. In 18 months of operation, under McDaniels tireless leadership, Dougie & Ray’s have assisted more than 100 students in Fairfield either through providing backpacks, pairs of shoes and socks, emergency clothes that are stored in the nurses’ closets and paid off negative-balance lunch accounts.
He believes Heesten and Bauer would be pleased with his work.
“They’re smiling up there because the kids are taken care of,” he said.
McDaniel, a stay-at-home dad with four sons, ages 3, 5, 7 and 9, has made the Dougie & Ray’s his life work.
“I can’t turn away from it,” he said. “My parents always told me to give back and give graciously. When I see a need, I want to help. There is a need in Fairfield.”
The goal, he said, is for parents in the district not to face this dilemma: Buy groceries or school supplies. He wants the foundation to continue its work for years. He mentioned five years, then 10, then 20.
Then, maybe, the next Ted McDaniel will step forward.
McDaniel remembers the first time he thought about starting a non-profit. He prayed over the career move.
“God laid something on my heart,” he said. “I wanted to do something. I wasn’t sure what. Then it clicked one night.”
He was laid off. He took that as a sign it was time to get to work.
“It has taken off,” he said. “It has been amazing. This is where God put me to help all these kids.”