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Ex-Black Achievers leader says his life is proof that God may have different plans for us

April 21, 2008|By JANET HEIM

HAGERSTOWN -- Ed Dorsey is committed to the community and to youth. It's that commitment that landed him a role as technology cluster leader for the Hagerstown YMCA's Black Achievers program in 2004 when no one else stepped up, adding to his volunteer efforts as steering committee president.

Dorsey worked with the program for three years until his younger son, Eddie, went to college last fall. Then he and his wife, LaSaundra, decided it was time to step back and focus on their younger daughters -- Brianna, 15, and Olivia, 11. Their oldest son, E.J., is 23 and graduated from the University of Michigan with an undergraduate degree in theater.

He was recently one of three adults honored at the annual Black Achievers gala. Dorsey admitted he doesn't like to bring attention to himself, and said there are people more deserving of the honor than him.

"It was exciting working with that. I hated to stop, but it required a huge time commitment," Dorsey said of the Black Achievers program.

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Dorsey shifted his time to coaching the girls varsity basketball team at Heritage Academy, where Brianna is a student and a basketball player. The team had a "really good season," winning the state championships for small Christian schools, Dorsey said.

A high school basketball player himself, Dorsey said he was too short for college hoops.

His family lived in the Chicago area until he was 12, then moved around a lot after that to accommodate his father's job -- turning around radio stations with poor ratings.

Dorsey pursued his dream of becoming a commercial pilot at Lewis University in Illnois. He said he graduated when a lot of Vietnam veterans were returning home with more flight experience than him.

Frustrated that he couldn't get a job in his field, Dorsey said he "had to divert to Plan D, a completely different career."

He helped pay for college and the huge expense of flight instruction by working three jobs while in college.

His best friend got him a summer job as a technician at a plastics manufacturing plant and he worked his way up to field service engineer, which meant he helped customers with problems.

"That was basically college in itself," said Dorsey, 43, who lives in Hagerstown.

When the job required him to move to Cincinnati, he took a job offered to him by one of his customers, General Binding Corp., in 1990. Dorsey is now plant manager of the company's Hagerstown facility.

Dorsey's own career path is a good tool when guiding youths in Black Achievers as they explore careers. It also demonstrates a firm belief Dorsey has -- that God has different plans for our lives than we do.

"If we just let him take the lead, I can't imagine a better-suited job for me," Dorsey said, who added that "church is number one on the list" of his priorities.

He added that he wouldn't have been happy as a pilot because he doesn't like being away from his family, whose members provide a strong support system for him.

Dorsey leads the Praise and Worship Team at Church of Christ at Hagerstown on Beaver Creek Road. Until a full-time pastor is hired, Dorsey also is one of the lay preachers, a role he enjoys and would one day consider as a career, he said.

He said he still loves to fly and hopes to use those skills in mission work after his children are on their own

Dorsey also is proud to be on the board of Cedar Ridge Home.

"Anything I do there is time well-spent," Dorsey said.

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