Last March, Brian Duke and his family lost their loved, youngest son Allen Duke. Two days after his 23rd birthday, Allen was struck and killed by a SUV as he walked along a sidewalk on his way to work in Durango, Colorado. Five weeks after the accident, he was scheduled to graduate from Fort Lewis College, where he was a dedicated student and helpful mentor to many of his peers.
His family, looking for light in the darkest of places, has decided to honor his short life by working with Fort Lewis College to formally set up a tutoring center in his name. They have established the Allen Duke Memorial Foundation to continue the young man’s work and caring. When Allen was honored in April with a posthumous degree from his college, his parents were surprised to hear how much he had done for the school from the dean, parents of other students, and the students Allen tutored himself.
“One mother surprised us at the ceremony by telling us that without Allen’s help, her boy wouldn’t have graduated, along with five other students,” said Brian. “Our son was never one to call attention to himself, especially when it was something that he was doing to help another person. So we were not aware at all.
“In fact,” Brian said, “I remember talking with him during his sophomore year about some poor grades he got and we advised him to get assistance from teachers or a tutor. He said: ‘Dad, we really don’t have a tutor program at FLC and besides, that’s a sign of weakness’. I said ‘No, weakness is when you need help and you’re too proud to ask for it.’ So, Allen joined a group study and started excelling in it.
“We didn’t even know our son volunteered to tutor until his dean told us at graduation and suggested that we could help more students if we set up a center at Fort Lewis instead of simply offering scholarships to a few.” Brian continued. “We loved the idea and are now looking at working together with the university to make this fitting tribute a reality as the top priority of our foundation along with scholarship fund.”
The Allen Duke Tutor Center will be funded by the foundation, which will also provide financial assistance for students taking the $1,000 CPA test, sponsor networking career days for students to meet with prospective employers and more. The family is asking anyone interested to donate to the cause.
All donations are fully tax deductible, and the goal of the Foundation is to use 100 percent of received funds where they are needed. The Foundation’s website is a work in progress currently, but the family encourages visits to allendukefoundation.com to learn more about their son and the work that will help him be remembered.