Most people know the name Roger Dale Daniel. He’s actually a household name among those who live in Russellville. For those who don’t know him, they have most certainly seen him around town over the past 27 years working for the Russellville Parks & Recreation Department. Daniel, who retired in December 2016, began working for the City of Russellville when he was 32 years old. He has seen a lot of changes over the years having served under four mayors and has worked with countless employees who have come and gone. Daniel was an intricate part of the wheel that turns the city. His departure will most certainly be felt by a community changed by his dedication and personality.
“I will miss the people I work with,” said Daniel. “But so far I haven’t missed the work,” he chucked. Daniel said the main reason he retired was because his body was wearing down. Twenty-seven years in maintenance will show eventually. Daniel was responsible for keeping the park system clean, as well as the ball fields ready for play. He did everything from picking up trash to mowing to planting to decorating.
Glenda Boisseau, a co-worker, friend and administrative assistant for the Russellville Park & Recreation Department, remembers Roger Dale as always being there. She worked with him the past 20 years side-by-side.
“He taught me a lot and he kept the job fun,” said Boisseau. “I’ve had 20 years of good friendship with Roger. I’ve looked up to him. He is a good guy and when he left I missed him.”
Boisseau said if she had a nickel for every time someone yelled out Roger’s name while they were working on the square, she would be rich.
“He is very loved and the city will be lost without him,” said Boisseau.
Roger won’t be heading to the house, however, as he will still be helping coach the Lady Panthers Basketball team, which he has done for the past 17 years. Roger also coaches middle school football for Russellville, Bitty Ball and Itty Bitty Ball for the Russellville Recreation Department.
“I’m not gonna give up my coaching just yet,” said Daniel. “I love the kids and love helping out. I’ll keep doing it as long as they’ll have me.” Daniel also has been refereeing for decades.
When Daniel received Citizen of the Year in the 1990’s, he was shocked after being honored at the Logan County Chamber of Commerce by his fellow employees and friends. Boisseau remembers how shocked he was.
“Everybody loves Roger Dale,” said Boisseau. “He is so good with kids. He has coached so many of them, he is now coaching their kids. He is just an awesome guy all the way around.”
Russellville Mayor Mark Stratton said Roger Dale will be missed at the city, but he knows he will still be around.
At the retirement party thrown by the city, the mayor said there is probably not a kid in Russellville who has been involved in sports that doesn’t know Roger Dale.
“Rather it was working for the city or all the extra things he does, Roger Daniel has had a huge influence on people,” said Stratton, who remembers traveling to other towns and hearing Roger Dale’s name mentioned and how he tries to help others out. “Roger has seen a lot of changes in this city and because of him a lot of those changes were made.”
Last year Roger Dale was told he had cancer. He said it scared him when he heard the diagnosis because that is what his father had died from.
“When you hear the word cancer, everything stops,” said Daniel. “You start reviewing your life and realize what counts.”
Daniel, who is now cancer free, says he cannot thank enough all of those who surrounded him and prayed for him during this tough time.
In 10 years, when asked what he would be doing, Roger Dale said he hoped he would be doing exactly what he is now, which is helping out the kids in the community.
“I appreciate being able to work for the city for 27 years,” said Daniel. “I enjoyed my job, and when you enjoy your job, you never work a day in your life.”
To contact Chris Cooper, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.