AMORY – Brothers John and George Darden share a bond through family, education, business and politics. After a recent induction gala at their alma mater, they now share in the distinguished title of being Mississippi Valley State University Trailblazers.
“The school follows the paths of their graduates. The requirements for being named to the roster of Trailblazers is to finish school and then be evaluated for what you did with what you learned,” George said.
John and George attended MVSU on full baseball scholarships. They were honored for their baseball talents while students and for their career accomplishments after they graduated. Both brothers were celebrated baseball players in Amory and the Southwestern Athletic Conference, according to a press release from MVSU.
As with the case of their three brothers, John and George earned master’s degrees.
First-born John graduated as salutatorian of his class at Monroe County Training School and went on to become an educator for 41 years, as well as a public servant for 34 years. He serves as Ward 2 alderman in Amory.
George was also an educator and administrator for more than 30 years and spent more than 27 years in government in New York. He was elected to the legislature of Rockland County, New York, as well as village trustee and mayor of Spring Valley, the largest village in the state of New York.
Locally, the Darden brothers were inducted into the West Amory Hall of Fame in 2012.
The two credit their years at MVSU as formative to successful careers in both education and public service.
“If there was never a Mississippi Valley State University, there would be no George Darden,” George said. “I read something every week to make myself a better ball player.”
The Darden brothers remain active in their hometown as licensed practicing morticians and co-owners of the family business begun by their father, Darden and Sons Funeral Home.
Sam Washington, who is a former NFL player and current head football coach of North Carolina A&T, was inducted as a Trailblazer with the Dardens.
“The purpose of the Trailblazers Gala is to honor outstanding alumni, coaches, staff and athletic supporters that have set the bar in their chosen careers,” said MVSU Athletic Director Dianthia Ford-Kee in the press release.