For more than 40 years, the Lear family has provided a helping hand to Irving ISD students and programs in need. For their benevolence, the competition field at Irving High School – where sub-varsity football and soccer games are played and fine arts competitions are held – has been named in their honor. At the February 22 meeting of the Irving ISD Board of Trustees, the school board voted unanimously to name the facility the Dick and Jolene Lear Competition Field.
“Dick and Jolene have been very involved in every aspect of this great city,” wrote citizen Bruce Burns in his nomination. “They have been and continue to be philanthropic to the charitable causes in the City of Irving, contributing time, energy, effort, food and money to countless worthwhile endeavors in the city of Irving.”
Irving ISD Director of Athletics Clint Roddy says the Lear’s contributions to Irving ISD students and programs have been more than generous; they have been from the heart. “I’ve met a lot of people in my role and I could tell right away that the Lears are special. If there was ever an opportunity to help a child, their answer was always yes,” Roddy says. “The Lear family supported students and programs because they wanted to make a difference, not because they wanted recognition for their generosity. That’s another reason this is so special.”
The Lears opened their first Sonic Drive-In restaurant on Pioneer Drive in 1974, building up to 18 in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Aside from employing several Irving ISD students at their restaurants, the family has supported the community through the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce and upgrading the city parks.
In addition, the couple established the Lindsey Lear Memorial Scholarship, in memory of their granddaughter, who lost her life in an automobile accident in 2010. The $2,000 scholarship is awarded to a student who has demonstrated the desire to pursue a college degree and has shown the capacity to succeed in the face of adversity and financial need.
Through their decades of giving, the Lear family has amassed several recognitions including:
- the Community Builder Award from the Irving Masons and the Irving Masonic Lodge;
- the Golden Apple Award from Irving ISD Partners in Education;
- inducted into the Hall of Fame for Sonic Drive-Ins, the highest honor of community service awarded by Sonic Inc.;
- Irving High Spirited Citizen Award; and
- Texas PTA Honorary Life Member and distinguished service to children and youth in need.
In addition, Mr. Lear was a part of the inaugural class inducted into the Irving ISD Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012. The Irving ISD Athletic Department also honored the family by erecting a flag pole at the field now named in their honor December31.
A dedication ceremony was held on March 2, at Irving High School.
Presented by Irving ISD