Leander Moore, 51, walks the streets of his Benning Ridge neighborhood, keeping a lookout for burned-out streetlights and other matters needing attention.
In the last year, he formed a block club in the 5100 block of H Street SE where he lives, helped found a Neighborhood Watch program with the 6th District police and organized local children into a cleanup brigade. For these and other activities, Moore was named father of the year by the Benning Ridge Civic Association.
Raymond O. Diggs, 52, also has been chosen father of the year by his Northwest neighbors in the Brightwood Civic Association.
On weekends, Diggs is likely to be found on a Boy Scout camping trip with 50 to 500 boys or involved in other scouting activities. He has walked more than 1,000 miles in his 15 years of work with scouts, while his wife Reba estimates she has cooked several tons of food to feed hungry boys.
Moore and Diggs are among 30 District men who will be honored Saturday at the D.C. Federation of Civic Association's seventh annual Father's Day luncheon, each chosen by his local civic association.
University of the District of Columbia President Benjamin Alexander, named the citywide father of the year by the organization's ward committee, also will be honored in the ceremony, which takes place at the Mayflower Hotel.
Moore, a night warehouseman for Safeway Stores, has managed to keep energetically engaged in the affairs of his neighborhood despite an unusually heavy set of family responsibilities.
His wife Doreatha developed cancer 17 years ago, when their youngest child was a preschooler. With operations and chemotherapy, she recovered, but in the past year she has been stricken with asthma and bronchitis and rarely leaves home.
Moore, called the "backbone" of his neighborhood by Officer Bobby Whitlow of the 6th Police District, also acts as an unofficial neighborhood social worker. When he hears of families unable to pay their rent or encountering other difficulties, he knocks on doors to ask for money to help them.
"He's just an all-out right guy," said Isabelle Brashears, a neighbor. "If you have a problem and you go to him, he'll try to help you. Everybody in the neighborhood loves Mr. Moore, the children, the grown-ups, the old people."
Brashears credited Moore with forcing the D.C. Department of Recreation to clean up nearby Benning Park after it had fallen into disrepair and with working for improved street lighting and more police patrols.
"Anything that needs doing in the neighborhood, he goes right out of his way to do it," she said.
Moore said he goes to bat for his neighbors because he believes God helped him when he was most in need. On his way to Korea with the U.S. Army in 1953, his plane crashed, killing seven passengers while Moore and five others survived.
"My philosophy is if you try to reach out and help others, the Good Lord will reach out to you," Moore said. "I could have ended up like those seven other soldiers, but He chose to keep me."
Diggs, an architect, is equally generous with his time and talent. He designed a new church for his mother-in-law's congregation near Petersburg, Va., and a house for a widowed family friend, both for free.
When his son Keith joined the Boy Scouts in 1968, Diggs became the first patrol dad and in the same year a scoutmaster at the Metropolitan Baptist Church, 12th and R streets NW. Scouting came to occupy much of his free time. Every six weeks he packed his troop off on a camping trip and took them hiking at least once amonth.
For five years, he spent his vacations accompanying busloads of boys on three-week trips to the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. His wife Reba tutored scouts with reading problems and spent weekends trucking huge pots of stew and meatballs to the scouts on their camping trips.
Gradually, Diggs took on more volunteer jobs in the scouting hierarchy, helping run jamborees, serving as the chairman of fund-raising dinners and training other scoutmasters. Although the demands of his job as an architect for the U.S. Department of Agriculture forced him to resign as scoutmaster five years ago, he continues to work for the D.C. area Boy Scout council.
Diggs said he has been motivated partly by his own disappointing childhood experience with scouting.
"It was during the war years, 1944-45. I joined, but we never did anything. . . . I'd come home and cry. My mother got sick of me crying, so after a couple of months, she wouldn't let me go back," he said.
Diggs said he disagrees with criticism in the late 1960s that scouting was irrelevant to inner-city youths. "Scouting gives them exposure to a variety of careers," he said, noting that there are "118 merit badges; electronics, physics, computers, you name it. . . . It helps mold boys' lives."
Diggs' son Keith, 26, is a firefighter in Richmond and his daughter, Sharon, 21, is a computer analyst in Baltimore. But according to Reba Diggs, her husband lavished as much attention on his scouts as he did on his children.
"I say he tries to be a father to everybody," she said. "I take my hat off to him. If there were more people like him, we wouldn't have all these problems."