Beating the odds
Posted on: May 29, 2012
Ed. note: COM extends its condolences to the Lacy family on their tragic loss.
Donald Lacy Jr. has been fighting the odds since he was born. "I was a miracle baby," he said. Missing part of his intestines at birth, Lacy underwent surgery as an infant to correct the birth defect.
Growing up, Lacy was close to his father. His dad often took him on hunting and fishing trips. "That's when we really had man-to-man talks," Lacy said.
When Lacy was a senior in high school, his father died. Lacy had learned about grieving from his father at the funeral of his father's brother. He had never seen his father cry, and watched to see if his father would for his brother. He never did.
"That day, when I saw that, it taught me that death is inevitable. When my dad passed, I tried to have the same mentality, but when my mom brought me up to the casket, I lost it," he said.
Besides grief, the tragedy brought new responsibilities for the 17-year-old. "I basically became the man of the house," he said.
That fall Lacy, while working a full-time job, began the Process Technology program at College of the Mainland after receiving a scholarship from BP. "I wasn't ready mentally," he said. After the spring semester, he dropped out of school.
But he wasn't satisfied with his choice. One day his uncle sat down with him and said, "You know, you can do better than you're settling for." Lacy had been considering his options and knew his uncle was right. "I had a goal and knew what I needed to do to meet that goal," he said.
That fall, he enrolled again at COM. Choosing to major in business administration, this time he had a focus.
And this time he succeeded.
He made the dean's list, then the dean's highest honors list. He became an active member of Phi Theta Kappa, the student honor society.
A member of the Student African-American Brotherhood (SAAB), Lacy was vice president and became acting president this year. SAAB advisor, Leroy August, said he encouraged Lacy to "step up; take responsibility. And that's what he does."
Lacy said, "I told myself that I can't just sit back and do nothing. I need to be involved."
He decided to help others using his passions. "I love numbers," Lacy explained. "I've had a passion for business since I was young." As a child, his brother started a candy business that Lacy became involved in, which fueled his entrepreneurial interest at an early age.
At COM he organized a personal finances seminar for students, arranging for a speaker to explain practical topics.
In May, Lacy graduated with an associate’s degree in business administration. This fall he will transfer to the University of Texas at Austin and major in economics.
Grateful to his family for their support, Lacy takes the challenges he has faced in stride. "I count it all joy. I count it all gain. I can flip it to a positive any day.
"I had a sense of being a strong man from my father. I'm trying to achieve more, so I can step up more. Then I can really be that man," he said.
"I made a complete turnaround from the person I was, to the person I am today. Now I'm being the person I should be."