Duckworth has two Bachelor of Arts degrees, one in Sociology and the other in Administration of Justice and holds a Masters degree in Human Development and Family Life. He has worked in the human services field for 25 years, with the majority of those years spent working with teens. He is a 4th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and is the President of the Ketchikan Fight Club. He is also part owner, along with his brothers, of Duckworth & Duckworth Construction.
CCW: What inspired you to get involved in the lives of kids?
JD: When I went to college I wanted to be an engineer-because I was really good in math. I took a sociology class and it bit me! Then I knew what I wanted to be involved in, even if it didn't pay as much. At 19 I started working with kids in a teen home and just got the passion, I really enjoyed teaching.
CCW: What do you hope to accomplish with the kids in your facility?
JD: Overall, a better life. More specifically, we like to get them on the honor roll, get them caught up in school, if not ahead. We like to teach them good work ethics, help them set their goals-what they want to be when they grow up-so the day-to-day stuff makes sense.
CCW: In your youth, what did you want to be when you grew up?
JD: A professional football and baseball player. I played through high school and then in college I switched to playing the summer leagues and had fun with it. So it went from a training sport to just a fun sport.
CCW: What are you are most passionate about?
JD: Probably kids. They're just fun! You can see the light bulbs go off when they're learning. They remind you that life can be fun. I'm also pretty passionate about my family.
CCW: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
JD: I like to dance-I'm good at all of them-I like Top 40 type stuff, and I like to golf. Family picnics and get-togethers is my favorite thing to do.
CCW: Other than your hobbies, what are some of your other interests?
JD: I've been a Vegetarian since I was 19. I am really into animals, we use the term "Lifeist". We try not to take life for granted. If I see a spider I'll usually pick it up and put it outside, or shoo a fly out the window. But if a mosquito bit me I'd probably smack it!
CCW: How did you get involved in Tae Kwon Do and Boxing?
JD: At age 25 I got introduced to Tae Kwon Do and competed in over 140 fights. I've been practicing for 24 years and teaching for 20 years. I was the Missouri state champion, and the Iowa state champion for a coupe of years. Then about 14 years ago I placed 8th in the Nation. I started Kickboxing 18 years ago and kept up with boxing over the years. I started the fight club in 2001.
CCW: What goals have you set out to accomplish in your lifetime? Which goals have you met?
JD: Get a college education-I did that; to be an athlete my whole life-I'm doing that; to have kids-I did that; to be real close as a family-we're doing that. For each generation to get better for the next generation, to keep the family real tight, helping each other out and having fun at it. I want to start up boxing for the high school. And I want to make the best teen home in the world. I also want to write another book, a fictional book based on some members of my family.
CCW: Who in your life has inspired you the most, and in what way?
JD: When I was younger one of the people I liked was Muhammad Ali. He inspired my athletic side, as well as football and baseball players. My uncle was real athletic and social. He inspired me-just the way people were drawn to him. He could always take a group of dysfunctional people and make them functional-I admired hat. Both my parents were great parents and I always wanted to be a good parent.
CCW: When was the best time in your life?
JD: It's all been good. It just gets better every year. I ended up having tonsil cancer last year and had to go in for treatment and radiation, and I was thinking, "This is it." After I got through that everything just kicked into high gear. It makes you look at the fact that you're not going to be here forever. I figure if I have three good years I can help everybody get in a good situation. My boys will be good to go, and my brothers-that's why we started the construction business, in a few years my brothers will be good to go.
CCW: If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
JD: I would have more resources to do the things I want to do. I could make things happen quicker. Earning it is good too though, it has made it that much sweeter.
CCW: If you could describe yourself in one word, what would that word be?
JD:Go-getter! If I talk about doing something, then I have to do it so that I'm not just a talker. I don't want people thinking that I am just all talk.
CCW: What is your personal belief system?
JD: I was raised Catholic. I would kind of classify myself as a Humanitarian/Lifeist with a Catholic/Christian background, if you can call that a classification.
CCW: What do you think your friends say about you when you're not around?
JD: I think they say good things about me-that's why were friends (laughing)!