WEST MONROE, La. (KTVE/KARD) — As we move into the holidays we tend to look at our families, friends, and acquaintances to examine the roles these relationships play in our lives. KTVE/KARD’s Nick Sommer gives us an inside look at his relationship with his grandfather, who helped shape him in to the man he is today.
“I just enjoy each day. I’m not worried about it, you know, I’m 94, you know what am I gonna worry about? I’m just enjoying each day and if I get, I get it. Like I said, I’m 94, how many years do I have left?,” says Edward Duko.
That is the last time I spoke with Edward Duko, my Papa.
Edward Duko was born on November 8, 1926, in Loytonia, a small farm town in Ohio where he met his wife of 64 years, Sandra Duko.
“Out backyards were connected so I would always see him around. One day we got to talking and he came over to fix my lawnmower and asked me out. And I told him I would have to check with my parents first,” says Sandra Duko.
Edward Duko grew up very poor and from a young age learned the concept of hard work, which he instilled in my brothers and me. Duko grew up with two younger brothers and two sisters. He and his two younger brothers would take their dog duke, a beagle, to hunt for deer, rabbits, and squirrels so that the family would have food on the table.
Edward and his brothers also built their own houses with their bare hands. Then, at 17, he enlisted in the United States Navy where he served for two years fighting in World War II before returning home. Edward and Sandra went on to have four beautiful children: Sharon, Cheryl, Scott, and Eddie, Jr. To Edward, family was everything.
“He had to work a lot of nights, but he always managed to be at the kids games you know baseball, football, and track; like I said, the kids came first. He was just always family first. A good provider. He just loved his kids and his grandkids,” says Sandra Duko.
His favorite things in life were family, Notre Dame, fishing, and football. My papa is one of the greatest men I have ever met. A true role model, someone you could count on to be there for you at anytime no matter what. He was always there to give advice, lend an ear to listen, or just put a smile on your face. He helped me out when I was struggling in life, he gave me the direction I needed. He also was there to kick my butt when I needed to do better. His belief system and the way he lived his life is something I try to emulate everyday. He would tell me, “Nick, stay focused, put in the work, and good results will follow.”
The advice he gave me throughout my life allowed me to stay focused and follow through and achieve my goals.
“He just meant the world to me and to his kids and his grandkids. That was tops with him, you guys were everything to him,” says Sandra Duko.
To all the young people out there, if you are lucky enough to have grandparents in your life, please make an effort to spend time with them. It is a blessing to have grandparents. My Papa is my hero and the best part about being a hero, is the impact you have on others.