During the month of May, Milford resident David Sauls received the NAACP Community Involvement Award from the Delaware NAACP during an awards dinner hosted by the Milford-Slaughter Neck Branch. A man described as modest and selfless by his peers, Sauls was surprised and excited about the news of his prestigious award.
“I was astonished when I heard the news, if my mother was alive she would have loved it,” commented Sauls. “It was encouraging and gratifying to be recognized by others without broadcasting it myself.”
A native to Milford, David attended Benjamin Banneker Elementary School and graduated from William Henry High School in 1963 and Delaware State College in 1967. While attending William Henry High School, he was involved in extracurricular activities such as track, basketball and the monitor’s club. At Delaware State he majored in Elementary Education and minored in History. David was a member of the Delstate cross country team and enable the team to win the NAIA Cross Country Championship. In 2005, David was inducted into the Delaware African American Sports Hall of Fame. He has accomplished over 100 marathons including the Boston Marathon seven times, New York Marathon two times and the Los Angeles ad San Diego Marathons.
Upon completion of college he enlisted in the United States Air Force serving two years at Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts and two years in Guam at Anderson Air Force Base. While at Westover, David established the 100 Mile Club, which he was the first to reach 100 miles in 2 weeks. He was in charge of security and his job responsibilities enabled security correspondence and squadron clearance programs. The Meritorious Service Award was bestowed upon David for error free administrative practices as he also received Airman of the Month several times.
David was employed by the Lakewood Public School District in 1971, where he taught grades five and six. As his tenure as an educator, he was involved in numerous school and community activities including Senior Faculty Representative for 15 years, Lakewood Track and Field Coach and was awarded Teacher of the Year in 1986. He was inducted into the Lakewood School Hall of Fame for Track and Community Service.
In 2005, David was diagnosed with prostate cancer as he began a new challenge in his life. David took the news as an opportunity to help spread awareness about the disease and to educate families on how to prevent late detection. He states that his reaction to the diagnosis was based on his experiences with running.
“Running has to do with perseverance and not giving up, when you see an obstacle you think how can I go above it.” commented Sauls. “I had a calming outlook, focused on getting the treatment done. In the recovery room I was smiling because the man upstairs had told me that I had a new mission now, to educate other men about prostate cancer.”
An example of perfect health, David is prime to explain that prostate cancer does not only affect men in poor shape. In fact, African American males, regardless of health are two and a half times more likely to die from prostate cancer, according to Sauls, and one in every four African American men are likely to be diagnosed with the cancer, compared to one in every six men among the general population. David says that the key to overcoming the disease is early detection through annual prostate exams. He acknowledges that his preventative measure saved his life.
“I you take a look at me you would not think that I had prostate cancer but it does not care if you are in great shape or not,” commented Sauls. “I am a prime example of why you should have your prostate checked every year. Some men do not like to get the exam but it can save your life.”
David is a member of the Bayhealth Prostate Cancer Education and Support Group, Delaware Prostate Cancer Coalition. David has spoken with many legislative representatives from the state as well as on a national level. He traveled to Washington, DC to speak to Delaware’s congress concerning research and funding and became a member of the Consumer Participation on Scientific Peer Review Panel. Helping to increase funding, research, awareness and more outreach programs, David is grateful for his preventative checkup that allowed him to be treated, he has not seen any reoccurrence of cancer for the last nine years.
“You have to cherish each day and I am thankful, tomorrow is not always given to you,” commented Sauls. “I could have not been here for nine years now. I am obligated to spread the word.”