Troy Norton: A Lifelong Commitment to the Youth of Russellville

By Odalis Garcia, Director of Marketing and Communications - Russellville Area Chamber of Commerce

Troy Norton

Troy Norton, a proud native of Russellville, Arkansas, graduated from Russellville High School in 1989. His journey of service and mentorship began at Arkansas Tech University, where he earned his degree in education in 2001 and a master’s degree in 2005. Since then, Troy has been a steadfast pillar in the community, dedicating his career to nurturing and guiding the youth of the River Valley.

For the past 17 years, Troy has worked at the Boys and Girls Club of the Arkansas River Valley, where his impact has been profound and far-reaching. In addition to his role at the Club, he has been an instructor at Arkansas Tech University since 2005. Currently, he also coaches the youth travel basketball team, the ‘Bad News Bears.’ His dedication to education and mentorship is unwavering, and he considers it his true calling to help the children of the River Valley achieve their full potential.

At the Russellville Boys and Girls Club, Troy works to create a safe and positive environment for kids to play, learn, and grow. The Club offers a variety of sports programs, including flag football, basketball, softball, swimming, and soon, volleyball. These programs provide them with opportunities to pursue their passions and turn their dreams into reality.

Troy’s love for sports began during his high school years, where he played for the Cyclones’ football and basketball teams. His high school coach, Coach Barns, was more than a mentor; he was a role model and father figure. Coach Barns once asked Troy about his future aspirations, and it was in that moment Troy knew he wanted to follow in his coach’s footsteps.

Troy’s commitment to his community extends beyond the Boys and Girls Club. He recently graduated from the Russellville Regional Leadership Academy as part of Class 38. Reflecting on this experience, he says, “The Leadership Academy allowed me to meet others within the community and helped me learn more about Russellville. I learned that if you put yourself out there and help in the ways you can, others will help you too.”

The Boys and Girls Club is a second home for many kids. “We care, we love them, and if they need us, we’ll be there for them,” he says.

Throughout his career, Troy has accumulated numerous accomplishments, but it’s also the stories of his students that hold a special place in his heart. He recalls a time when one of his students, Taelon Peters, lost his basketball shoes at a tournament. Troy took Taelon to Feltners, a local athletic store, and asked him which shoes he wanted. Taelon chose one of the most expensive pairs and promised, “I’ll play good.” Today, Taelon plays Division I Basketball for the Liberty Flames in Virginia.

Troy cherishes the moments he spends with the kids at the Boys and Girls Club and is deeply touched when they come back to visit. “Some kids come back to check up on you, some start working at the Boys and Girls Club, and others invite you to their weddings or graduations. It's rewarding to know you've made a positive impact on their lives and that they remember you.”

In celebration of its 35th anniversary, the Boys and Girls Club is eager to give back to the community that has supported it for so many years. Troy encourages Russellville residents to reach out to the Club if they need assistance. Additionally, the Club is always looking for volunteers. If you’re interested in coaching or helping out, please call (479) 968-7819.

Troy Norton’s story is a testament to the power of dedication, mentorship, and community. His unwavering commitment to the youth of Russellville continues to shape the future of countless children, helping them achieve their dreams and build brighter futures.