Houston man gave up fame, fortune for family

February 27, 2012 7:02:13 AM PST
Lester Dixon is not a CEO. Neither is he rich. But he is a person you would be lucky -- perhaps even blessed -- to know.

For seven years, he has been working at United Methodist Church in The Woodlands. He is the maintenance engineer, doing everything from emergency repairs to feeding fish and spending any spare time he has in the church kitchen.

The path to this point has been a long one that might have defeated a lesser man.

Lester and his three brothers were raised by a single mother who was and is legally blind. She supported her family by playing the organ at the church. The boys sang. The family group was called The Dixonaires.

The rest of the time was devoted to studies and always sports.

Each brother went on to college on sports scholarships: Tyreese went to the University of Texas, Demetrius to West Point, Audreece to Los Angeles City College and Lester, who played football at Blinn College and then at Sul Ross University where he was invited to the NFL Combine.

He declined.

"I had the talent to make it, but God needed me to be somewhere else. I needed to be there for my children and my mom and the family," Lester said.

Not long after that, the reason for that decision was revealed in a terrible way. Lester's younger brother, Tyreese, was on his way home from UT one weekend when the car he was in was struck by a drunk driver.

Tyreese was paralyzed from the waist down, so Lester quit college and came home.

"He was my strength through it because I knew if I saw Lester, everything would be alright," Tyreese said.

Lester spent his days taking his mother and brother to doctor appointments and his evenings with his children, but he needed a job. He heard of one at Woodlands United Methodist Church and took it, quietly doing everything that was asked of him and more. That says a lot to an assistant pastor.

"People have this incredible ability to rise above their circumstances and live lives that are noble, and Lester does that," Minister Rob Renfore said.

He was featured in the church's video series called Almost Famous as is an example of a person who isn't a celebrity but someone of faith and substance who quietly helps others, asking for nothing in return.

He is a man who might have played in the NFL, but chose the harder path, although he sometimes wonders.

"I did what God has asked of me," Lester said. "I always remain patient, put others before me, and treat others how you want to be treated and go with that in life."