Special to The Leader
The Orange Leader
Much like his laugh and the twinkle in his eye, Kevin Doss’ love for helping others is infectious. As Lamar State College-Orange’s 2012 recipient of the Julie and Ben Rogers Service Award, he was recognized for that admirable quality and joined the ranks of others who share his passion. But that passion isn’t limited to just one type of service, just as Doss isn’t limited in his many talents.
Whether he’s teaching a speech class at LSC-O, touring the United States with his speech and debate team, or acting on-stage in a theater production, Doss gives his all. Having a strong love of the Arts, he has been a part of more than 25 stage productions and has written and directed, as well as assisted with, a number of performances for organizations such as the Orange Women’s Service League and Orange Community Players. He has served in a number of positions for the Southeast Texas Arts Council, the Orange Rotary Club, local schools, and First United Methodist Church, as well as at LSC-O.
Doss said he felt very honored when he received word that he had been chosen to receive this year’s award.
“This is such a wonderful award to acknowledge individuals at the Lamar campuses who contribute to the community in addition to their regular job requirements,” he said. “It is truly amazing how this small initiative of community service from Julie and Ben Rogers has been able to reach so many lives in the Tri-County area.”
After beginning his teaching career when he accepted a graduate assistantship position at Texas State University in 1990, he continued work toward his master’s degree and coached the Speech and Debate team there. In 1992, he moved to Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, La., where he taught and coached the Speech and Debate team for more than four years. In 1996, he arrived in Orange and has been an instructor of speech and communication classes at LSC-O, and the director of the Speech and Debate Team, for the past 16 years.
“I love being a teacher,” he said. “It is very satisfying when I know that I am planting the seeds of public speaking knowledge in the minds of my students. My joy comes from them taking what they have learned from my classes and using it to further themselves in their careers.”
Seeing students succeed at their occupational goals is a rewarding experience for Doss, who says he lives vicariously through the success of his students.
“I always tell my students that when I chose the education profession, I knew I would never be a rich individual,” he said. “My reward is seeing them achieve their financial and occupational goals. This is what drives my passion for communication education.”
When he first came to LSC-O, there was a small amount of groundwork that had been laid out for a speech team on campus by his predecessor. After taking charge of developing a team, he says he began to run with it, and over the years the team has served a great example of academic achievement. Under his direction for the past 16 years, the LSC-O Speech and Debate team has been recognized locally, state-wide, nationally and due to an invitation to compete in Rome last year, now it has been recognized internationally.
“The seed was planted when I arrived and I have worked to make it grow,” said Doss. “Hopefully, I will continue to make this team special for LSC-O and the Orange community.”
Though he participates heavily in community activities, he says the activity that is closest to his heart is when he volunteers his time to help a student to perform a speech activity and to perform it well. Over the years, a number of elementary, middle, and high school students have asked for help with speech competitions and personal coaching, something he always makes sure to make time for.
“I look at them as my children who are learning a skill,” he said, “that will not only achieve an immediate goal, but will benefit them for a lifetime.”
As far as working within the community, Doss says his favorite part is when he helps to put on a production at the Orange Community Playhouse with other members of the community. The mission of the Orange Community Playhouse is to share the Arts with the community. Doss says he believes that sharing the Arts is something that touches the lives of everyone who comes into contact with the production, though few have any idea exactly how much work goes into creating the show.
“It is a great feeling to contribute with others in the creation of a work of art,” he said. “And it’s a great joy when a show takes flight and the community can have a wonderful experience. I always seem to find time to participate in the Arts in our community, whether as a performer or a grateful audience member.”
Wendy Elliott, Director of Student Activities at LSC-O, nominated Doss for the Julie and Ben Rogers Service Award and says his dedication and hard work with the students on campus and in the community is admirable.
“Kevin has played a powerful role in the growth and development of OCP, and has opened up many opportunities for our students to participate in the Arts through OCP,” she said. “He has played an immense part in many of our students receiving scholarships to further their education after graduating from LSC-O.”
Born, reared, and raised in Joplin, Mo., Doss cites his parents as the people who instilled in him a giving and caring heart, and taught him nothing is as rewarding as helping a fellow human being through his own time and talents. He says the end result is a personal satisfaction of knowing that he did something special that will benefit others.
“There is not enough public recognition or money in the world that can ever substitute for the love of helping others,” he said. “The ability to ‘give of oneself’ is priceless!”
As adults, Doss says it’s our responsibility to help plant the seeds of service so we can get the next generation on board with helping others. He says it’s important to get young people involved in community service at a young age.
“We have to be mindful about encouraging our younger generation about the personal satisfaction of service,” he said. “The Orange community has some outstanding individuals who contribute so much of their time and talents for others. This is what makes Orange such a great community and I want to see it continue for years to come.”