Taking from an old cliché, walking our neighborhoods is like opening a box of chocolates. One just never knows what one is going to get. We fall in love with our community a little bit more every time we are privileged to do one of our walkabouts in our beautiful town.
It was a very nice Valentine's Day walk! We walked a neighborhood in which someone complained bitterly that our police department neglected them and was not doing their job to keep the neighborhood safe. This person basically demanded more police presence on a regular basis for what they believed was an ongoing neighborhood problem. That is why we picked this particular neighborhood to walk this last Sunday.
We talked to a a few people during this walk and to the person, each said they lived in a safe neighborhood and were very satisfied with our police. Here are a few stories from our walk.
We met Kit and his son Jordan. He was exceptionally complimentary of our police department. He knows several police officers and spoke highly of them.
We met George. He told us he has a great time just waving to people as they go by. He could not stop talking about his neighborhood and his neighbors. He laughed easily and his handshake was powerful.
And then we met James. Oh my! When we walked up, he had an armload of Valentine balloons, candy, flowers and a huge card. Neither of us had ever seen anything like this. We thought perhaps he was trying to compensate for something he did. But as he told us his story, we realized James was just a really good man, a good husband and a good father. James told us a few years ago, he was a full-fledged gang member and identified the name of the gang he belonged to. He showed us all of his tattoos and he spoke of several police officers he knew. But what came through loud and clear was the pride he felt at the distance he had come in his life and how important his family was. As we were finishing our conversation, his daughter came out of the house and pleaded with for her dad to come in the house. We said our good-byes and James hurriedly disappeared into his home.
As we walked back to our cars, we looked at each other and felt so good about our walk and our opportunity to be a part of this great Belonging Revolution! And we were so proud to be part of a community that made room and created a safe place for the James' of our world to live a beautiful life and to realize their dreams!
Thank you, Dan Benavidez