Retired US Air Force Major Eddie Lee Felder, Junior was born, raised and educated here in the Brazos Valley. Throughout his life, he's known the importance of service, dedication and hard work. As part of Black History Month, we're featuring African Americans who are working to make a difference in their community.
Major Felder is using what he's learned in life and the experiences he's lived to educate the next generation of leaders. Retired United States Air Force Major Eddie Lee Felder, Jr. Is the Director of Human Resources for Bryan ISD and an integral part of the district leadership team, but the path to his successful career was at times a bit difficult for him and his brothers and sisters.
"My mother had to raise all of us up alone on a single income," Felder said.
After the death of his father, Felder's mother became the inspiration that fueled his desire to succeed in life.
"She was an awesome lady," he said. "Her picture is right there. She looks at me everyday and I look back at her."
After graduating from Bryan High, Felder worked his way through college and graduated from Texas A&M University.
"I worked at Sears," he said. "I worked at The Kettle Restaurant and Denny's the first few years. Actually my entire time at A&M I worked."
With the dream of receiving a college diploma accomplished, Felder's need to serve others began when he joined the Air Force.
"I went off to serve the country," Felder said. "I went to Biloxi, Mississippi, a place I didn't want to go to in fact, I wanted to go to any Air Force base in the State of Texas because I didn't want to leave Texas. I'm a very patriotic individual. I love this country, it's the greatest country on the face of the Earth so I wanted to make sure that I did serve the country in some way and the Air Force was the opportunity for me."
While serving his country, his military career took him to various bases in the US, he spent some time working at the Pentagon and overseas, too, but eventually he returned home and began serving those in his community by volunteering at numerous non-profits.
"Salvation Army Board... I work with the African American Museum, I've been a mentor at every level of our school system from elementary through high school, President of the Brazos Valley Republican Club, I work with Texas A&M University, help the athletes out there. The Mays Business School. I work for my church."
For his many years of volunteering, Lee Felder's continuous work to help others is rewarded when the Brazos Valley African American Museum recognizes not only him but his wife, Valerie, for their selfless dedication to help others.
"It's an honor for the African American Museum to recognize my wife and I for what we've been able to do thus far in my home community," Felder said. "We've been involved from the standpoint of helping others know about our heritage because this is my history as well and growing up here, I think God has a wonderful sense of humor. I started here and go through a 23-year career in the Air Force and end up back where I started, but the reason being I believe is to help others."
To show you how committed Major Felder is to making the most of every second, he's up bright and early every morning. Once the alarm clock goes off at precisely 4:19 a.m., he hits the ground running and once he gets in his twelve mile run, he's off to work.