MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Each year, a group of hard-working student athletes in Bibb County
is rewarded scholarships in memory of a fallen Macon native.
Al Lucas, son of Georgia State Senator David Lucas and Macon City Councilwoman Elaine Lucas, played football at Northeast High.
He went on to play in college at Troy University and then in the National Football League, but while playing in an Arena Football League game in 2005, Lucas suffered a spinal cord injury and passed away.
The Lucas' teamed up with the Community Foundation of Central Georgia to create the Al Lucas Memorial Scholarship Fund. Wednesday night at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, seven Bibb County students received $1,000 scholarships to help with their college expenses.
"It's part of his legacy," says Lucas' widow, De'Shonda Lucas. "It is a pleasure and a privilege to be able to do this every year."
The recipients of this scholarship display a hard work ethic, both in the classroom and on the field.
Everett Reese, a Howard High School senior, is heading to Morehouse College and will play tennis.
"He was also a scholar athlete," says Reese. "He was born in Macon also, so to get this scholarship in his honor is a great honor for me."
Scholarship recipient Kyri Orr's mother agrees.
"Everything that Al stood for: his beliefs, his work ethic, I see all of those things in my daughter," says Yolanda Orr.
Even though Lucas is no longer with us, his legacy still lives on through the scholarship named in his honor.
"We know what happened to this man," says Clifford Kleckley, a senior at Rutland who will suit up for Mercer's football team this fall. "We still choose to play. It's just something that we have to do when we have that drive. This scholarship helps motivate kids to play and keep playing."
"At least he was a good person," says Lucas' daughter, Mariah Jackson. "He passed away doing what he loved, and now people can do what they love with these scholarships."
2013 Al Lucas Memorial Scholarship Recipients
Central High School: Kyri Orr
Howard High School: Morris E. Reese
Northeast High School: Allen Moss and Kianna McElroy
Rutland High School: C.J. Kleckley, Jr.
Southwest High School: Jaimeson Taylor
Westside High School: Brian Whitaker