“A lot of students say I’m the father they never had,” Dugger said.
The dedicated drama and English teacher has been mentoring students at Glendale High School for 21 years, save one year when he taught in Colorado.
“I missed Glendale,” Dugger said. “I came running back.”
His love for teaching and his sense of service often overlap.
He is a certified emergency medical technician and an instructor of first aid and CPR. He fought in the Vietnam War and was in the reserves until the 1990s, when he was injured. Dugger was also a Boy Scout leader.
“The Boy Scouts are not about survival,” he said. “It’s about growing citizens and making better citizens.”
Dugger applies the same sentiment to his job as a teacher. Some students need someone to listen, while others strive better with Dugger in their face, making sure they succeed.
“I like working with teenagers because they make me younger and sometimes wear me out, but I love teaching,” he said.
Dugger’s youthful aspirations to be an actor are apparent in his trained voice and articulate speech.
He worked in a local radio station in Riverside, broadcasting off and on for 20 years; he honed his delivery and went on to the service, where he did voice-overs.
“Not a lot of students had it as good as I had it,” he said.
His father was also in the Boy Scouts and was a scientist and a dean at UC Riverside.
Dugger remembers coming home from school and seeing his parents sitting in the living room with young men and women, giving them advice on any given day.
“I have a great sense of family and heredity because of my parents,” he said.
Helping others is in his nature.
As a young boy, Dugger would raise his hand at any opportunity to help a teacher or fellow classmate.
He keeps on raising his hand. At any moment’s notice, he may be deployed to a natural disaster, as he was recently during the Sylmar fires.
“It’s usually the people that we help that are grateful, but there’s no glory,” he said. “This is my country. This is my community. This is my way of giving back.”