Moses “Mo” Lucas

by Terry Watson | February 10th, 2011
Moses "Mo" Lucus

Moses "Mo" Lucus

In 1954 after serving his country in the U.S. Army, Moses Lucas found his way to the local YMCA in Winston Salem, N.C. As he carried out his daily duties as a full time educator, any extra time was spent at the YMCA doing what he has done for the past 56 years; helping people. Six days a week, he can be found there unless an act of nature prohibits him. Lucas has impacted the lives of countless young individuals, including three children of his own, by practicing a belief that he stands behind; the belief of listening.

Lucas once asked his mother why she named him “Moses”. He says she told him she named him Moses because she knew that he would grow up to be great. At the age of 83 he continues to work part time at the Winston Lake YMCA although he retired from there nearly 17 years ago. Known as “Mo Lucas” to the patrons of the YMCA and the citizens of Winston Salem, he says he learns a lot from the young people that he comes into contact with. “In order to help kids, you must ask them five small words: who, what, when, where and how” he says. “You must ask them where they are going, who they are going with, what are they going to do, how are they going to get there and when are they coming back.”

Being around people is what Lucas loves most about the YMCA. “No matter what I am going through or what is wearing at me, as soon as I go through the doors, it’s all gone,” he says. He has seen so many lives transformed by coming in contact with him. Doctors, lawyers and other professionals have been touched by Lucas. Many others who would have otherwise used their free time doing something less constructive have found his influence a positive motivating force.

A 1960 graduate of Winston Salem State University, Lucas is credited with chartering its first chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. He started other programs throughout the city of Winston Salem including the Boss Drummers, a popular drum line that travels throughout North Carolina performing, and has performed in WSSU homecoming parade every year since its inception. Lucas says maintaining a strong relationship with God is what has sustained him.

He has faithfully attended Mount Zion Baptist Church in Winston Salem since 1937. The last remaining surviving member of his family, Lucas says his parents were strong individuals. He watched his mother come home and tend to her family after working long hours at the tobacco company. The citizens of Winston Salem have recognized Lucas throughout the years for service to others. “I have all of my trophies, plaques and awards at home,” he says.

There aren’t too many places you can go in Winston Salem where Mo Lucas isn’t a household name. Currently, there is a campaign underway to rename the Winston Lake YMCA to honor him. With all of his accolades, Mo says his most important achievement is seeing children succeed and come back to visit him. Many call him daddy because he has listened and advised just as a father should.

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