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DBT40 Honoree: Troy Purnell

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Position: Founder

Employer: Gotta Be a Better Way Foundation

Age: 36

Troy Purnell isn’t involved in community organizing for awards or recognition — although he is honored to be on this list. He just wants to build a community for his children where its members uplift one another to succeed.

Purnell is the founder of the Gotta Be a Better Way Foundation, which hosts community events and fundraisers to support low-income children.

Giving back to the community is critical for Purnell, who does yearly Christmas toy drives, helps feed homeless individuals, sponsors children to participate in sports programs, takes students on field trips, provides clothes to teens and rewards them with other gifts to celebrate their successes.

When the pandemic began, Purnell was worried that he would be laid off from his job as a car salesman at Preston Automotive Group. His concerns even led him to ask a friend for a job as a delivery person at his pizza shop. But after Purnell’s boss told him that the dealership would not be closing, Purnell prayed to God and decided to wait things out at the dealership. That month he broke a store record for the most cars sold in one month.

Recently, Purnell has been added to his car dealership’s outreach team to serve communities on the Eastern and Western Shore of Delmarva. He hopes his positive spirit can serve as a light for people, whether grappling with the uncertainty around COVID-19 or another dark place in their life.

Purnell has coached recreational basketball and Little League baseball for six and seven years, respectively. This past season he was an assistant coach for the boys’ basketball team at Seaford Middle School alongside coach Matt Spence. He also served his first term on the Seaford Board of Education.

Purnell enjoys cooking with his family at least twice a week because it gives his time to talk to his children and teach them something constructive. 

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