Stephen Dunker believes athletics can be a positive driving force
BEDFORD — Stephen Dunker's three sons, Evan, 7, Beau, 5, and Nathan, 2, keep him on the move, but he wouldn't have it any other way.
When Dunker was growing up, playing football, basketball and tennis on the varsity level was the driving force in making him the man he is today. He believes athletics plays a vital role in building strong citizens of tomorrow.
"For me, sports was my developmental tool," he said. "It drove me. My parents used it to help me stay focused, and if I didn't do well in school I couldn't play. Now, it's a video game world and kids learn skills better by being outside and playing."
He said being a family man has helped him realize what is most important in life, and he's dedicated to giving his wife, Megan, his sons and his community the best part of himself.
Dunker grew up in Derry and has lived in New Hampshire for about 10 years, with five in Bedford.
"I'm truly lucky to have met a woman who made me a better man," Dunker said. "Having children changed my life. I don't think I really knew what love was until I had kids. My first and foremost focus is my family and the betterment of my kids, mainly because I'm a big kid."
When Dunker is not working as vice president of sales and marketing of AMPM Facility Services and its sister company HD Floorcoat, in Waltham, Mass., he can be seen coaching several sports teams – Bedford Jaguars Football, Bedford Youth Basketball, and Bedford Youth Baseball.
He is also the founder and owner of I9 Sports, a youth recreational basketball program which promotes after-school fitness and offers lower-income children a chance to play sports.
He had served on the fundraising committee for St. Joseph's Regional High School in Manchester, the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce's Green Committee, founded the FunFit program for Manchester public schools to help fight obesity, coached the St. Joseph's girls basketball team and the McDonough Elementary School's girls basketball, and volunteered at the Bishop Elite Program in Manchester, a basketball program that has won several championships. Now, his growing family and busy schedule limit his volunteerism, but he often tries to take part in local fundraising efforts.
"When my friends need it, I try to help. But, it's hard with three kids under 7," he said.
While many people have helped Dunker through life, he credits his boss, John Smith, for giving him the opportunity to devote time to his family and coaching.
"John is a mentor. I would not be in the position I am without him. John is very family-oriented. He recognizes that my commitment to my family is above all else and he encourages a balance of life and work," Dunker said. "I'm lucky to have a boss who cares so much."