ST. LOUIS – A community is mourning the sudden loss of its leader.

Duane “Dee Tee” was more than a mentor—he was a beacon of hope and guidance for many young men in the community. As the founder and president of Boys 2 MENT.O.R.Rs, Duane dedicated his life to bridging the gap between boys and men.

“We could never ever, ever replace Dee Tee,” Cleveland Wilson, friend of Duane, said.

His sudden passing has left a void, but his legacy continues to inspire.

“I have been in Boys 2 MENT.O.R.Rs since I was 6 and it helps me become a better person, a better man and just a better overall me in life skills, how to treat a woman,” Jakem Jones, Boys 2 MenT.O.R.Rs participant, said.  

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Duane’s Boys 2 MenT.O.R.Rs program has provided mentorship to young boys and men, teaching them about spirituality, self-worth, community development, respect, and essential life skills.

“He was a great man, a great father figure for every young man that came in this program. I just hope his name lives on,” Malik Crimm, participant, said.

Duane’s vision extended beyond the boys themselves, involving parents and teachers to create a fully supportive environment. His commitment was unwavering, with a 24/7 availability for the boys, ensuring they always had someone to turn to.

“His motivation was helping at-risk young boys from ages 6 to 21. And he did that. He did that wholeheartedly…he sacrificed his time, he sacrificed his money, and I’ve never met anybody that has a genuine love for at-risk youth, for people,” Wilson said.

Those who knew Duane said he dedicated his life to the betterment of others, and his legacy will continue to live on.