The passing of Weatherford ISD educator Trace Craft last month after a battle with ALS left a hole both in the district and the community.
“Trace Craft was a great administrator who truly had a heart for students,” Executive Director of Communications for WISD Charlotte Lagrone said. “Being an educator was his calling and throughout his career he was a role model to students individually and through the Boys to Men Club.
“His desire to teach students the value of dressing for success, exhibiting good manners, being respectful and responsible, while also developing leadership skills was immediately embraced by our students and continues today.”
Craft served as an assistant principal at Tison Middle School and Weatherford High School, and retired a few years after his ALS diagnosis in 2018. During the summer of 2017, Craft formed the Boys to Men Club for young men to show the importance of dressing for success and emphasizing the need to be responsible and respectful. Each Tuesday, the group would dress in their Sunday best for Dress for Success Day.
The program blossomed — Tison added a Girls of Greatness Club as well — and in the fall of 2018, Tison honored Craft by renaming the boys club the Craftsmen Club.
But Craft’s character didn’t just have an impact on his students.
Marvin Lofton said Craft was one of the first people he met when he moved to the area and took a job with Weatherford ISD in 2018.
“His character and everything he stood for, his leadership style ... he became a good friend and a mentor to me,” Lofton said.
The two formed a solid friendship, and Lofton was there throughout Craft’s battle with ALS, participating with him in the Walk to Defeat ALS in Fort Worth in 2018.
“In 2019, due to his physical condition, we were unable to attend that walk,” Lofton said. “[Last month] he passed away sadly and lost his battle to ALS and we wanted to do something in a tribute to Trace here in his hometown, where he had such a significant impact to the community and the students and staff at WISD.”
Because the Fort Worth in-person event was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions, Lofton began doing research on how to create a local walk for ALS and planning the event, which is scheduled for 8 a.m. to noon on Oct. 31 at the Camp Holland Lake Pavillion.
“We just need the support and participation of the community, whether they want to donate or participate in the walk that morning, or whatever that may be,” he said. “[Trace] was just a tremendous man with great character, and everything he stood for and his legacy should be recognized.”
The plan is to start the day off with a prayer, followed by registration and then a roughly three-mile walk down the Hike and Bike Trail to the Weatherford bridge and back. Lofton also hopes to include a balloon ceremony for Craft, an ALS ice bucket challenge and open the floor up to the men that ministered to Craft to speak, as well as anyone else who knew him.
T-shirts are also available and can be purchased at the following link: https://stores.inksoft.com/craftcrusaders
Anyone wishing to get involved with the team, Craft’s Crusaders, can find out more information, including a link to donate, at web.alsa.org/goto/CraftsCrusaders2020. Proceeds will go to the ALS Association, which provides local care, advocacy and research to help fight ALS.