Note: Kelli Lindsey contributed to this story.
Well before daylight and long after dark Preston Lindsey can be found in a barn, the welding shop or somewhere quiet with his Bible in hand. Wherever he is and whatever he is doing, he is doing it for the Lord and his kids at school and the community of Troup. He loves them all dearly.
Born in Jacksonville, Lindsey was raised in nearby Mixon. His youth was spent like many a country boy – he loved sports of all kinds, he hunted, fished and camped. Outside was his favorite location.
Lindsey graduated from Troup High School in 1976, went on to college Kilgore Junior College and graduated with an associate’s degree in 1978. Several years down the road he attended The University of Texas at Tyler and graduated with a bachelor degree. That was in 1996.
His best move came in 1979 when he married his high school sweetheart Kelli. In those 38 years of marriage God has blessed them with three children, Amber, Cassie and Caleb, who all graduated from Troup and two grandchildren, Lindsey and Grady who are currently attending school in Troup.
He has lived in Mixon and been a member of Mixon First Baptist Church for 51 years, where he has served as Youth Director, Sunday school teacher, Deacon, trustee and Mission Leader.
If has to do with church or youth, you will find Lindsey right square in the middle of it.
“Preston has always been involved with youth, whether it was at church, coaching little league baseball or basketball,” his wife Kelli said. “He has led youth mission trips, served on the board of Troup Youth Association, President of Troup Young Farmers and is involved in the Troup FFA Alumni and Friends.”
Lindsey was also instrumental in bringing the Go Texan organization to Smith County which gives scholarships to Smith County students.
He has been involved in agriculture, farming, raising cattle, pigs, horses and timber operations all of his life.
After graduating from Kilgore he worked in several different jobs, logging, sawmilling, pipe fitter, roughneck and lineman. It was 1985 when he went to work for Brookshire’s Distribution Center where he stayed for 25 years in several different capacities. He served as Manager for the last 20 years before he left.
“Preston has always had a deep passion for serving other people and felt the Lord was telling him it was time to change careers,” Kelli said. “After several years of praying and seeking Preston left Brookshire’s in 2010, thinking that he may go into the mission field, never thinking that mission field would be teaching.”
With the Lord opening door after door Lindsey was led to be an Ag teacher.
“He took the Ag competency test and passed with flying colors which made him highly qualified to teach Ag,” Kelli added. “He started teaching and taking classes on line to get his teaching certificate from Texas Teachers Certification program.”
He would teach his first year in Jacksonville and then the Lord opened the door for him to come home to Troup where his passion and love for people is the greatest.
“Preston has always been loyal and dedicated, never doing anything halfway,” Kelli said. “He gives his very best to all he does, to him teaching is not a job it is his life.”
Lindsey is always trying to find more and better ways to reach young people and help them be successful in whatever they choose to do, whether it is projects they build in shop class, showing livestock they raise or even the archery team, he is always trying to connect with the youth of Troup.
Show season begins in January and goes through April. It takes him away from home and his family for days and sometimes weeks at a time, coming home just long enough to drop off dirty clothes, get clean ones and kiss his wife. But he likes this time of year because his students get to show off all of their hard work and success.
Kelli says that family vacations usually involve going to look for new show projects or the Ag teacher conference where he is getting new material for the next school year.
“We are extremely blessed to have the support of the Troup school administration and the great people of Troup,” Kelli said.
TISD’s administration and community feel the same way about Lindsey.
“I have worked with many good Ag teachers over the years but none as dedicated or that cared more about young people than he does,” TISD Superintendent Stuart Bird said. “He gives his heart and soul to our students. It really serves as a type of ministry for him. He instills such a since of responsibility, work habit and work ethic in his students. Best of all he is a great role model for all to follow.”
Try to pay him a compliment and he’ll likely come back with, “No credit due here. It’s all the kids.” His praise for their efforts is building some exceptional young men and women.
“Preston does not seek any recognition for himself, but only wants his students to be successful and know that he loves them,” Kelli added. “Preston’s love for people starts with his love for Jesus Christ because without Jesus he could not do anything.”
Lindsey would tell you that his goal in life is that others would see Jesus through him and that when his life comes to an end that Jesus would say to him “Well done my good and faithful servant.”