Flash back 2012 to the Kony 2012 campaign. The United States was captivated by these child soldiers in Uganda. We were outraged. We demanded something be done! We had events all over the nation for the children of Uganda being forced into being child soldiers. I was part of it and still believe this is atrocity that shouldn't be ignored. I was all over the Invisible children movement. Our kids were involved in cover the night events that triggered a response from the White House. We sent 300 troops to aid in the rescue of these children. This video had over 100 million views. Yep 100 million views. According to their financials they had over 17 million in their coffers this year. The Country was outraged and they reacted. The PEOPLE MOVED!
The streets of Memphis has Kony's of our own. They aren't sneaking in to homes at night and kidnapping children, but the methods used are just as deplorable by glorifying this. The gangs in Memphis are stealing our children's future and I want to know where is the outrage we saw with Kony?! Are the children of Memphis not as important at the children of Uganda? Where is the You tube Video? Oh Wait....***** Warning Graphic Language*****
This is happening to the YOUTH in OUR CITY! We are losing a generation of children and I ask again, where is the YOU TUBE documentary to save these kids from the Kony's of this city? Where is their Senate Resolution and White House response? Where is the organization spending the millions to save them? Where is the OUTRAGE? We have to stop ignoring what is happening in our own back yard. We have to say enough and say to these children you are worth it. We cannot wait until there is a police altercation to shed light on problems such as these. Can you not see? We can stop the incidents from even taking place if we take out youth out of the equation. We can keep them from being in situations where police intervention is necessary. We need to save our youth! I challenge the film makers and non profits of Memphis to step up! I challenge the candidates to ignore this no more! Talk about it! I challenge the citizens of Memphis to step up. You want to bring real change to Memphis, we have some big changes to make and it will take work, money, and commitment. It will be hard, it will be long, it will be costly, it will be WORTH IT! Save our City! OUR YOUTH ARE THE FUTURE!
People say a lot about me, some good and lately some bad. I get made fun of for my passion. I can be brought to tears by the playing of the Star Spangled banner and seeing veterans saluted. I am the person that buys lunch for the WWII vet and cry because I overheard him tell the waitress no one had ever done that before. Make fun all you want, my passion is the same passion that drove the likes of Sam Adams, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Thomas Paine, and Ben Franklin. It is the same passion that resides in the heart of a solider. We just fight on different battlefields. They fight to preserve my freedom to fight for them and you. I am grateful.
I ran across this from former Congressman Allen West and I was again moved to tears. This time is was anguish. I read it to Chett and the tears just came. I started rambling about this and America and my heart is and was truly broken. I have dedicated my entire life to this country. I have studied the words of our founding fathers, I have quoted them, and I have lived by them. I teach my students exactly what Allen West was talking about.
Here is the text of his Speech
I stayed at the Deacon Timothy Pratt Bed and Breakfast in the lovely antique Library Room. In 1746 when this home was constructed, no one could have ever imagined that 268 years later I would be sitting here documenting my personal experience. Yet, there I was, the kid from the Old Fourth Ward in Atlanta chilling out at Deacon Pratt’s place.
This, ladies and gentlemen is the true America. The exceptional America. Not the contrived “social justice” and “equality of outcomes” America into which Barack Obama seeks to transform our Republic. This is the America that says there are no limits on what you can do or what you can become as an individual.
This is the America Buck and Snooks West told me about as a child and made me believe that anything and everything is achievable, if only you dedicate yourself to working hard. This is the America that my wife Angela and I now tell our daughters Aubrey and Austen about, and prepare them for. This is the America that Dr. King spoke of because it is character that matters, not skin color.
This is the America that our Founding Fathers just somehow knew was possible. This is also the America we are challenged to preserve and defend. We must continue to talk about this America and the legacy of liberty and why it must be passed on to subsequent generations.
We must tell the stories of the sacrifices of previous generations that have enabled us to enjoy these blessings. We cannot begin to believe that all we can ever be are just subservient drones to a tyrannical government that does not believe in our individual indomitable American spirit. And we must once again restore the brilliance of that beacon of freedom of conscience and will that has drawn so many to our beautiful shores and graced those of us fortunate enough to be born here.
Say what you will progressive socialists and others, with your incessant personal attacks. This America shall triumph, as liberty and freedom always have. This America will see a recommitment to its fundamental constitutional principles. This America will once again be that special place that holds respect, regard, and honor in the world (Allen West)
In the last four years I have seen my home became a shadow of the home it used to be. Both my city and Country have become something I do not recognize. I find myself a Patriot lost in a country with no appreciation as to what that means. In fact, it is bad to be me now. My country teaches me I am supposed to me ashamed of who I am. My race, my religion, my marital status, and laughingly my Patriotism are all things that I am told by society I am to be ashamed of. I am the problem with all that is wrong in the world. How is that? This country was founded on the principle of freedom for me to be a Christian and for you not to be if you so choose.
We should be allowed to be proud of who we are, all of us. We are Americans after all and that we should be proud of. That flag that people desecrate is the reason I am able to be me and you are able to be you and we are able to be free. We are blessed to be citizens of this nation. I don’t think most even realize what it could be, what it is for many in the world. I love my country. I am a teacher and a radio show host. Do you realize I would be stoned to death in many countries for taking a stand like I have? I am free to take up for the David Bookers and campaign for Mike Williams.I can get on the radio every week and fight for my fellow Memphians. It is my choice and it is my voice and my country allows me to do it.
There was a time not that long ago where life was not like this in the US. Was it perfect, absolutely not! Did it have problems? Absolutely! But the people had a voice. The people….We the people….Where did “WE” go. In the last four years I have seen race relations set back numerous years, I have seen my religion come under attack, I have seen corporations seek out to take advantage of people, and unfortunately I have seen the government cater to all of it.
Two years ago I had the honor to meet Justice Antonin Scalia the longest serving Supreme Court Justice. Before this I did not pay attention to local politics very much. I was an American Government Junkie. He changed my perspective and opened my eyes to what is happening. He said, “yes the decisions I make are important, but if you are not paying attention to what’s happening in your own back yard, you need to fix that now.” I had no idea just how right he was.
We live in a city and country were big money sets the agenda. Our education is dictated by a textbook company. People are being forced on to poor insurance by our government. The Chamber of Commerce of Memphis is stealing from the retired and forcing working people in to poverty. Our jobs are being stolen legally by a program put in by our own Congress and being manipulated by companies to bring in workers from Mexico. Our police and troops are being vilified in the media and the truth gets lost in the agenda pushing. No longer can you count on the media for truth, otherwise you would have seen the 10 thousand people in Times Square protesting a deal that our president made with a terrorist nation. We contributed 150 billion to a country that seeks death to America. They say it themselves, it isn’t a myth, they have declared war on us and we were too afraid to make China and Russia mad, we caved. China and Russia seek to destroy our way of life and we cower to them? 10,000 informed people took to the streets and I read about it on Facebook, not any of the news outlets.
I know you are now wondering how this pertains to Mike Williams? I am glad you stuck around to find out. Mike is a product of the people. “We the People” encouraged him to run and be our voice. He has fought for “we the people.” He put his life on the line for those who live under the stars and stripes and he protects and serves those who live in the City of Memphis. Mike Williams represents the people voice. He is the personification of “ the America that our Founding Fathers just somehow knew was possible. This is also the America we are challenged to preserve and defend.” He is not a millionaire nor the member of an LLC. He is a man who grew up in Memphis, worked hard to get through school, served our country, came home to take care of his family, served his city, and now he has answered the call to serve the citizens. He is what this country means to so many. “This is the America Buck and Snooks West told me about as a child and made me believe that anything and everything is achievable, if only you dedicate yourself to working hard.”
As the tears streamed down my face this morning, I looked up at my husband and said, “Mike has to win.” Mike’s winning will restore hope to me. It will tell me that in fact, “WE THE PEOPLE” still run things and not the Shea Flinn’s of the world who feel they can make one phone call and candidates will simply say ok and drop out to the mighty dollar. His victory will show me that it is true what I have taught all these years, we can change things. He is the people’s candidate. Look at the big 4. AC (money) Stirckland (money), Collins (Money), Mike (the people) Money is all the media wants to talk about. That was one of the reasons cited from the fire union……. But.I want to believe I still have a voice, that "We" have a voice. I want to believe "WE" still can make difference and that our country and city are NOT FOR SALE! Mike Williams has to win, my belief about the future this country depends on it. It truly does. “We the People” just have to win. This country was designed for us to win. Stand with the "We."
rachel knox is an educated voter who wants to change this city..... so this is how they plan to silence her
I met Rachel Knox one year ago. She came up to me at a community event and introduced herself as many had done in the past. Some of the other wives and I had been working on reading budgets and planning rallies so it wasn't uncommon for people to approach us. She asked a few questions and I didn't think much more about it until the next council meeting. Well, then see for yourself.......
You can see my face in the background. Here is the city's council's worst nightmare. She was scarier than Chett, who had the "audacity" to tell a FORD to put his phone down. After all, Chett is not a Memphis voter. Chett was simply an affected person "Whining" in their eyes. But not this young woman. She was different. She did not lose benefits, she was not an employee, she was a VOTER in the city. Not only was this woman a voter, she was armed with *gasp* facts. Oh MY! What would they do with her? There is nothing more deadly to a corrupt government than an educated voter.
What's funny about Rachel is when you meet her for one you think she is a mere child. I was shocked to find out she was a college grad with experience under her belt. When she speaks she is very soft spoken and in a split second this fireball emerges. The transformation is amazing and I am sure scary to those who seek to take advantage of taxpayers like herself.
After you see Rachel's videos, you can now see why they would seek to silence her. She is a powerhouse. Even if they succeed with eliminating her from the ballot, you can bank on Knox. She will not be silenced. She loves her city and she stands up for her city. She will not let them beat her. This I know about her. She will go to the polls and she will be sure that she has many voters with her when she does. Whether she is in District 2 or District 3, she is still a voter and she is still has a very loud voice. She won't give up. You cannot silence her and you cannot silence us.There is a movement, an awakening and you cannot stop it.
You will not beat Rachel Knox. She is has more heart and more integrity than most that govern us today. Is she perfect? No, who is? Does she have all the answers? No, again who does? Does she have this city's best interest in mind? I would say so. You know what's best about people like her, she is contagious, infectious. People with passion like this are bound to influence others. Rachel, if you are reading this, I know your heart for this city and please see this attack for what it is....fear.
What a day! I wasn’t even able to be at city hall and it was still eventful just watching from home. Let’s recap and assess the situation.
PERSONNEL & INTERGOVERNMENTAL COMMITTEE
Ordinance amendment to Section 4-28-22 Code of Ordinances to allow any employee, who elected to participate in the DROP program between 9/1/2012 and 6/30/2015 and whose effective date of retirement is between 10/1/2015 and 9/1/2018, to elect to “freeze” in place and suspend participation in the DROP program.
This is the mayor’s idea. It is an election year after all, we can’t force people into poverty. Well. Not everyone, especially those who we call “friends.” I haven’t looked at the DROP list yet, but I am willing to bet some recognized names are in there. So, are we going to let the others we forced out back? We see through this Mr. Mayor. Dave Booker gave a face to your carnage and we can’t go around having worry about their livelihood on camera now can we? After all, there are 1599 more stories to be told. I would love to tell every single one.
Resolution urging the state legislature to adopt legislation to outlaw the sale of organs and
body parts of aborted babies
Planned Parenthood spoke against this and said that the video was highly edited and false. Councilmen were not eager to jump on this one saying it was choosing between prolife and prochoice. So they will revisit this item.
Resolution requesting that a more robust performance review system be developed and that all employees with multiple disciplinary actions do not receive pay raises
Ah…Councilman Conrad. This is a sneaky sneaky way to attack those raises. Three unions spoke out against this one. Maybe I am reading too much in to this but what if I am not? He says he is just giving the voters what they asked for. Not really. See Police and Fire are paramilitary and handle their own discipline and when you get the public involved then sometimes you will find discipline that maybe wouldn’t have happened. Like most entities, lawsuits scare the city so sometimes they react to that instead of dishing out fair discipline.
For Police disciplinary action is permanently in their file. That is understandable if you are trying to see if a pattern develops, but it is fair to use that discipline against them in performance reviews? Meaning should an officer not get a raise because they had two incidents in a 7 year period? In public safety, you will have complaints. UM…..CLERB… need I say more? Sometimes you make people mad and in a job where no two situations are the same, how can you have measurable performance levels?
Dispatchers have hearings a lot simply because of the nature of their work. They are expected to be 911, 411, multilingual, telepathic, clairvoyant, and Christopher Columbus all in one person. When they fail to live up to what the public expects them to be, often they are disciplined. It is not an easy job. Should they not get a raise because in a 3 year period someone called and didn’t know their address and cussed the dispatcher out and then the dispatcher was able to finally get an address, it was the wrong one? Yes. People in the city DO NOT KNOW THEIR ADDRESSES. Or in a call where the person was hysterical because life was truly on the line and they couldn’t make out exactly what was said. Should they not get a raise because of this? Does it negate the 1000s of other calls they successfully took? Seems to me that it will be difficult for the city to find people to give raises to. Not because the city is filled with bad employees, but because the job they hold are not typical jobs with measurable levels of performance. So, no raises ever again right?
Ordinance amending the Pension Ordinance for employees under investigation for theft/embezzlement from the City.
This is also an interesting one. You pay into the pension and then you go into McDonald’s on city time for some ice cream on an unscheduled break or lunch. Guess what? You have just embezzled time. Now your pension is threatened. What if a co-worker gets angry and accuses you of embezzling and they launch an investigation. You can lose your pension. The way this ordinance is written, just the mere investigation of this act can put your pension at risk.
Now they said that what they mean is that they will not let you take the lump sum and run. That’s what they say. That’s not what was written. We know how that plays out. This passed with opposition from Joe Brown who said they were jumping the gun again before getting the full ordinance. Where is due process? The Constitution says you cannot take property without due process of law. This is exactly what this does. I am not opposed to taking someone’s pension if it is PROVEN they stole from the city and then and only then should they discuss if they forfeit it all or just the amount of the embezzled amount. The key word is conviction. We are innocent until proven guilty in thei country. Right Mr. Defense Attorney Mayor? We cannot circumvent the law even if we really want to!
Tomorrow we will talk redistricting and ABC. ABC……… ABC!!!!
What an emotional week! Tuesday was so difficult to go through for all the parties involved. This precious officer's story has been seen almost 200,000 times and shared over 1,000. He has inspired thousands. I have heard from people all over the country who want to help. There is good news for Dave and Kim. Today, he and Kim are insured and will be able to keep their house for as long as THEY chose to do so. This was not special treatment. Actually, if any one of the people Kim emailed, or called would have just taken a moment to look at his file, they would have fixed it. Every time she called she was told something different. She emailed everyone she could think of. I even asked the mayor to call her and he assured me he would a year ago.
All of this fear and torment could have been avoided for this family, if the administration would have just called her back. That's all. But, as I stood in David Booker's driveway today one thing was clear, Kim Booker is a warrior. She isn't done. She said on the way home Dave wondered about his fellow officers and that is exactly who she is wondering about today.
Tuesday was a breakthrough. While Dave Booker has his insurance today there are 1599 others who don't and each one of them is Dave Booker. They each have their fears, their hurts, their illnesses. Did you know that Line of Duty retirees only get 3 year coverage? Read that again.....You get injured in the line of duty and they say 3 years should do it. Really? If you are shot, lose a body part, get cancer, hypertension, etc. 3 years? Hmmmm....I didn't see that in the care manual for humans. All injuries will be healed in no more than 3 years. Come on now?
If you have not seen the meeting from July 7, I would like to say I would post the link here, but as of today you cannot find it on the website. I have asked for it to be posted and that didn't happen. I mean I do not blame the administration for NOT posting it, but alas the Freedom of Information Act allows us to request it. So I have asked Fran to work her magic and as of 10:10 she is on it. That woman makes me laugh. She never stops and she is on a mission. So I would say we will probably have video tomorrow. I will post as soon as we do.
You need to look at what is coming. Seriously, it is private sector type policies on public sector pay. That is brought up in the meeting. Fran makes some compelling arguments. You NEED to see this! Your future benefits brought to you by the Chamber of Commerce.
Dave Booker is not just one man. Dave Booker is 1599 retirees each with their own struggle. The Bookers are my husband and myself upon retirement. They represent every person who works for the City of Memphis. One thing is inevitable, one day, we all retire and then what? We are the Bookers.
Do not forget those words, "I want to go home, while I still have a home to go to." Some where in Memphis tonight, a City of Memphis Retiree is wondering how long they will have a home to go to. Don't forget David Booker. There are 1599 more of him.
UPDATE***** in true Fran fashion at 9:41 a.m. I get a text that said the meeting is up. Fran is good. Thanks!
To view the Insurance meeting Click here
Today was a heartbreaking but it produced the breakthrough we have been waiting for. As we sat in the Personnel and Intergovernmental Committee Dave heard it said that the retirees were breaking the city he loved and he served. That was when he broke.
His former partner got to the table and began to tell the room about the man David Booker is. What kind of officer he was? He asked them where the humanity was. I would like to know that too.
Dave gets up to leave and the media starts to move too. He has captured the attention of the room for many reasons. The emotions are high and the words spoken of him are ones to be admired.
Dave is surrounded by microphones and cameras and he just wants to go. He wants to get on the elevator and people begin to ask him questions about what Mike Lee has said and how he feels. Mike Matthews recognizes him from a story he did on him years ago. We are struggling to get him to calm down because he is apologizing. He believes he has hurt the city and we are telling him how he hasn't done anything wrong. Kim answers some questions about their situation. As he gets in the elevator a rage comes over me. I cant explain it, I saw Mike Matthews crying and I lost it. His story was heard. The Media was now paying attention and I knew what Dave would want me to do. He would want me to remind them of the 1,600 others facing similar situations because that is what he would do. I rush downstairs to find him and Kim sitting on a bench and he looks up and asks if they are coming to take his house. He wants to talk to the mayor because the mayor gave him an award and he thinks the mayor is nice. He asks to see the mayor. I ask the lady sitting next to them if he can see the mayor and I know she is texting who I assume if the Mayor. she says yes but never offers to make the appointment. So I go to the woman I know that can get him in the door.
I went to Fran and asked her if she can get him to the mayor and within second she was on the phone calling him and then his secretary Lois. She says he is leaving for a meeting and Fran explains who is waiting and within minutes we are on our way up. The funny thing was when the mayor walked in he kind of looked around and asked where Mrs. Triplett was and when he realized she wasn't there. He was either confused or relieved I cannot tell which. LOL I call her the pit bull I think relieved. Regardless, Fran was able to get Dave up to ask the Mayor a question. "Can I keep my house?"
Shortly after we go in the conference room we are greeted by the mayor, who does indeed know Dave Booker. As we sit with the mayor and HR director Robinson, Dave asked his question. "Are you going to help me keep my house?" "Yes" the mayor answers. We spend 28 minutes talking and at the end Dave is promised by both men he will not lose his house and they will not pay $1654 a month. I asked Robinson why should my husband or anyone else for that matter work for the city with these benefits. He is honest and says he can't answer that. He just tells us he can't answer that. These are problems they have to tackle and they are not coming by this easily. It is funny the Robinson you see in the meetings is not the same one who dealt with us in the room. Surprisingly, he was actually seemingly kind. If I didn't already have a preconceived notion about him, I might like him. I know his job isn't easy and I know that I don't make it any easier. But, I will fight for what is right. We leave with an appointment for Thursday and a promise that everything is going to be fine. All of this is documented.
We say goodbye to a very tired Dave and we head to lunch.
We come back to a very nasty CLERB Protest. A blog for another time. But Sydney runs in to Mr. Robinson and he tells her the Bookers insurance is taken care of and everything will be fine. Sure enough I go ask and he says yes indeed, Dave now has disability and she will be able to take the individual plan with a 70% subsidy. I am momentarily confused until my Facebook feed blows up and I see the video at the beginning of the blog. As of this blog it has been seen 40,264 times and shared over 750 times. Negative press in an election year! Heaven Forbid!
I call Kim after a long meeting filled with more angry emotions. I am so glad Dave left and that many of my cop friends weren't there. Again, another blog for another day. Kim said, "now that didn't take long!" I said not in an election year and after watching the raw video myself I can see this is damaging and they are doing damage control. The problem is that when Kim called HR they told her a different story. They said October 1st, everything could change and that nothing could be finalized without the city council and they did not believe Kim could stay on the individual plan as promised. Needless to day, we are keeping our meeting Thursday.
The Bookers want to relay this message. They want everyone to have the benefits they were promised.
"I would like to say that by no means do Dave and I think we are "the only ones" and expect special treatment. All long we know and pray for families that are worse off than us, we know that there are officers and families that during an illness the security of ones home is the only life they have and with Dave's illness - his home is his life. We have all long wanted the city to be fair to all, to be able to put their head down at night and not worry about "is it going" to change again. If you are a caregiver you have enough to worry about, if you are pre 65 and still raising a family you should have the right to give your family the comfort and security that was promised to you. I have been told so many this and thats since last summer I am truly looking forward to seeing on paper what healthcare with cost we will get and I think everyone out there is entitled to what Dave said today "I just want to home while I still have one". Our city have put a value on so many "projects" that seems to be "What we the city needs" so you get it, when if we have to change our lifestyles the city should too and above all one's life is priceless. One last thing coming home after settling Dave down and having a prayer for our city, our leaders, our men and women in uniform and families that are suffering and the people who are our voices, Dave says, do I get to keep my house, I replied Yes honey you do but will they raise it again like last year, I said I hope not, THEN he says what about those of officers will they get to keep their houses." Kim Booker Via Facebook
I want to thank Mike Matthews who went out of his way to make sure Dave's story was told. He even contacted the Mayor's office himself and posted the correspondence. He is determined to get this man's story heard and for that I cannot thank him enough. He is doing battle behind the scenes for the retirees and that makes a responsible media and that is not to be taken for granted. Thank you so much for your hard work and your Kindness.
"The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" Hebrews 13:6 This morning this is the first verse I seen for my devotion. Wow. God does have a way of always calming my fears (I just have to give him the control) If I understand right, Dave's medicare kicked in July 1. We are thankful because the 3 1/2 years he worked as a county electrical inspector before being laid off made him eligible for medicare, but it was a 3 year battle and lots and lots of doctor reports to get him that. So he has medicare, I will not be in the spousal carveout and receive 70% insurance 30% me, I am not sure what deductibles are, I will meet with Mr. Robinson in the morning. I was told on the phone a couple of weeks ago that with his medicare I would still have to fall under the FAMILY PLAN because he was the retiree and I was the spouse, even with the medicare and at that time I would be looking at premiums of $1650.00 or WHAT EVER the city voted on, I was told it was a wait and see, they COULD not for sure tell me anything else. I told I was grandfathered in and when I mentioned that the person said will I don't know anything about that and that TOO could change. So now after yesterday I am OK, I am not unappreciated,I am but I will have a couple of questions, there are others of you out there that did your job, and have medical problems with both spouse and the retiree, or a child, why, why do we one by one have to be put thru this. Many of you know Dave's medical condition and his home is all he has, his security. Other things in life do not "come" to play in his life (except his TV). His brain only knows HIS home and he does not process what he once was able to do and I know that there are others loosing something can effect their medical condition greatly. I don't know how much longer I will have my DAVE, slowly each day things change, I have been told that by years' end I would have to have him put in a nursing home because I will not be able to care for him. I will keep him for as long as I can do him right. We need our home now for what life he knows and what good memories we can make. I also would like to know if every May/June/July/August this going to be an ongoing heartbreaking time in our lives. My heart breaks for you. the men and women in uniform now how this is affecting you and your families as you plan for your future, and my heart breaks for you who have retired and did have your future planned. Things happened in life that we have no control over such as illness to make our path change but what we earned to help with that path change WE should have control over, value human life over city projects, pilot plans, use OUR money for what was promised to us in our contracts. I pray that "The LORD is my helper, I will not fear." will prevail for all our fellow officers, and the city will do EVERYONE RIGHT. "Hear O LORD, and have mercy on me; LORD, by my helper" Ps. 30:10
Thank you all for your care and concern and most of all your prayers, I will continue to help others in their fight, Dave is just one Life story, as I have said before God is Good, Dave does have a heart, a heart for the men and women in/retired and service and thru it all he loves Memphis and HE WANTS TO LIVE.
Our prayers are with you all, Love Kim and Dave Booker
The last two days have been a blur. Somewhere in there we did a radio show. We posted pictures from the studio, LOTS OF PICTURES. If you thought they were about us, you missed it. You missed the miracle, the HOPE. As I sit here blogging ( blopping as Dave calls it) I am having a conversation via Facebook messenger with Dave. It was funny. I messaged Dave's Facebook with a number for Kim and the messenger pops us "Are you still there. This is me Dave Booker your friend." He explains in jumbled english that he is trying to surprise Kim by doing his computer therapy. So between our messages he is running to his bed and waiting for the next message to pop up. This has made me giggle.
He is telling me he is praying for my husband because he remembered he was on the fire department. He wants to know if he is helping people. I am reassuring him that he is helping more than he knows. I am telling him how much he is loved and how beautiful his wife is. He told me she is very nice and how he hates to see her cry.
This man makes me laugh and cry in the same conversation. The fact that I am currently having a conversation with Dave is a Miracle. The fact that he was one of the first guests on our show is a honor, a true gift from God himself.
Dave is not supposed to be with us today. He isn't. He is a medical miracle. He leaves some scratching their heads. Isn't it great when God does that? The truth is that Dave's purpose on this planet is not done. Dave and Kim's love story is not complete. True love stories are rare today, but we have got one here ladies and gentleman.
Kim has stood beside her husband through better and now for worse. She adores him. You see it in her eyes. She will not leave the man behind. She fights for the man she loves and for the men and women he loves. Her days are not easy and some days are filled with tears. But, she hangs in there, true to her vow and her heart. She will not leave him in a home or some place where strangers would care for him. In his condition, he may or may not realize it if she did. She would. She would know her heart was somewhere else. She said, " I know his ways. I know his fears and I know best how to care for him. I made a vow for better or for worse."
Dave fights in his way for police officers and Kim fights for Dave. Who fights for Kim? Guess it is our turn. Right? This is what family is about and we are all a part of one big family called humanity. I challenge you Memphians. Stand up! Tell your elected officials you stand for Kim and other people that they are sending into poverty. Her husband spent his life serving this city and the thanks he gets is for him and Kim to have to sell their home. She reminds me constantly that she isn't the only one hurting by this. She is right she isn't. Stand up for us! Stand up for all of us dealt this awful blow by your city council and Mayor.
The sad part is that you will be given excuse after excuse as to why the money isn't there. These are lies. Flat out lies. They find money for pet projects and PILOTS. Do you know that I sat in council meeting where we gave the rent money Bass Pro Shop gave us BACK to Bass Pro? Really? I will not visit Bass Pro downtown. I was insulted. They can't find the money huh? Right. The correct statement is THEY WILL NOT FIND THE MONEY! Open your eyes Memphians before it is too late. Claim your city. Make your officials do the right thing. We are people. Dave and Kim are wonderful people, Kathy and Russell, Chett and Sherrie, Scotty and Fran, Brad and Heather, Sean and Amber, Kathy and Eric, this list goes on and on. We are people. We are not numbers or bottoms lines. We are living breathing people who are just wanting to be heard and we just want what as earned for a life well lived full of service to your city.
They have fed you things like "many of them don't live in Memphis, so they aren't paying taxes." For one, not true, I don't know many of us that don't spend money in Memphis. I spend MOST of my money in Memphis. We provide LOTS of sales tax revenue. If all of us from the municipalities and outside of Memphis truly stopped spending money in Memphis, what a sad day that would be for them.
Let me leave you with this. Mayor Wharton and many others know Lt. Dave Booker personally. The Mayor has given him awards. The mayor has spoken about this man with respect and honor. His actions have thrown him out like trash. If he will do this to someone he respects, what will he do to the countless, nameless Memphians? Something to think about.
Stand for Kim
This is what love looks like
,How do I tell the story of a true hero? How do I convey the true meaning behind his life? Amanda and I had the pleasure of meeting the man that so many have spoken up for. Retired Lieutenant David Booker touched my heart from the moment I heard about him last summer and today after meeting him I am at a loss as to how to compartmentalize the wide range of emotions I have.
When we first arrived, Mrs. Booker immediately greeted us with a smile. She chit chatted about my daughter who was with us and things she had read on Facebook. She was wearing a Team Dave t-shirt.
Their house is not a house; it is most definitely a home. You can feel the love as soon as you walk in. She has a doll room, which my daughter found immediately. There are pictures everywhere, which Amanda seemed to enjoy! Each picture told its own story: wedding pictures, graduation pictures, a young couple ready to start their lives together. When you go to the living room more pictures greet you, a daughter, a son, and three grandbabies. Two large posters are in the corner of the room with signatures and pictures of what we would later find out are former students of his. These photos tell the story for all who enter the house, including Dave.
We sit down and I get to the reason why I am there. I want to know more about this man that so many speak so highly of. The first thing I notice about Kim is that she misses her husband. She is obviously still very much in love with the man she married. She misses the man she married. Don’t get me wrong, she cherishes the time she has with Dave for he is a true miracle, but when I share with you who Dave is, you will understand her longing for days gone by.
Officer David Booker joined MPD March 1975. He came on from serving on the Bartlett Police Department. When he entered the academy he was last in physical agility and third in law enforcement courses. When he graduated, he was at the top. See Dave is a fighter, an overcomer and this is just the first example of it in his career.
Officer Booker had so many accomplishments in his career. In addition to his officer duties, he started several neighborhood watch and crime prevention programs from the trunk of his car. The city didn’t have the budget and he improvised in the beginning. Officer Booker was a recruiter as well. A title, I think if he was aware of what was happening he would be upset about. He recruited under the same promises that were made to him. He is an honest, God fearing man and he would not be happy with the way the city dishonored the promises to the people he recruited. I just see that about him. He would probably be more concerned about them over himself and he would be doing everything he could to fight for them. I can just see it.
Officer Booker was one of the people that helped better our city’s culture through the Wonders series. I remember those series very well. It was a great way for Memphians experience the “wonders” of history and culture. Hence the name. We could learn about Napoleon, Ramses the Great, Catherine the Great, among many others. As a history teacher, of course this is at the top of the list for me. These were incredible learning opportunities for the people in this city. His bookshelves are decorated with the statues that honor him for each series.
Officer Booker was such an incredible employee he was awarded employee of the year for Shelby County by the very same mayor that takes his livelihood from him today. Mayor Wharton spoke very highly of Officer Booker in his speech about him and to me privately when I met with him last August. I asked Mrs. Booker if Mayor Wharton ever called her as he promised me he would when we met. I was pretty sure I knew he hadn’t and I was right. Her answer was no and in fact, she had not been called by anyone from the administration despite the fact she had been told by several individuals that either the Mayor, George Little, or Quinton Robinson would be calling her. She pointed out that she has a cell phone and she still has a landline with an answering machine and no one has reached out.
I could feel my face turning red with anger when I hear a noise behind me. I turn and there is the man himself. Dave walked in the room and looked at us with confusion. Kim introduces us and she asks if there is anything we can share with the mayor for him. He answers “yes.” He proceeds to talk about the fact he is not in the right bed. He is concerned that the person who should be in that bed is without a bed. He makes sure we know that the right thing to do is find out who should be in that bed.
Some may immediately notice that he is lost, but not me. I quickly jot down the fact that the first thing he thinks of is others. He wants to make a perceived wrong for someone else right. I am there to fight for him to ask anything he wants to the mayor and he wants to make sure that this “person” gets their bed back. Wow. His natural tendency is to think of others before self. He wasn’t concerned he was in the wrong bed and he had been wronged, he was upset for someone else. Despite his condition, his heart still belonged to a police officer.
He sits down in the recliner next to us and he asks to watch T.V. Kim asks him to tell us a little about being a police officer. He tells us of Elvis. You see, Dave was such a trustworthy police officer that he was the one chosen to guard Elvis the night he passed away. They knew he was honest enough not to exploit the opportunity to make money off of the evening. Can you imagine how much he could have made taking pictures of “The King”? They were looking for a person of integrity and they chose Officer Booker. She asks him what the hardest part of the job was and he answered, “Arresting people.” He explained there were lots of bad people out there. Officer Booker, you have no idea.
He again is concerned about why we are there. I explain to him that we are there because we are fighting for his benefits and for the officers he recruited. He asked about the department and when we told him the shape MPD was in, his heart broke. I watched as he digested what I told him about officers leaving and promises broken. He immediately sobbed. Tears began to stream down his face and he wanted to know why. He was scared for the police and for his home. I explain that Amanda and I will do everything we can to help him and his fellow policemen. This seemed to help he says thank you and asks to watch T.V. again.
After we all collect ourselves from crying together, Kim explains that the fact we were able to have the conversation with Dave is a miracle. If you are not aware of his story, Dave had a Complete Bilateral Mid Brain Thalamic Stroke in 2011 right after meeting his first granddaughter. He was never supposed to wake up. They called his children home to say goodbye and in 2015 he is telling us about Elvis.
Now, while a miracle, not a miracle of healing as of today. He is alive and his family is grateful for that. He doesn’t recognize his grandchildren and some days he may not even recognize Kim. There are days he believes he owns sports teams and days he feels he has to go hunting with his trusty broom. Then there are days he may sleep all day.
His brain is a mystery, even to many doctors. Officer Booker’s case is so severe that to their knowledge no one has survived this type of stroke with this severity before. Dave’s case file has been shown to many doctors who are all shocked he is breathing on his own, let alone telling Elvis stories. His brain cannot properly regulate sleep, personal hygiene, hunger, memory, most every day things. Every day is a new experience for the Booker family.
When he first had the stroke Mrs. Booker had to dip in to their savings to pay for the therapy that the city insurance didn’t cover. She paid $2000 a month out of their savings so he could learn the difference between a fork and a spoon. My first question is why? With health issues high in our public servants, why isn’t this available or covered? She has been fighting for disability iinsurance, which has not been an easy fight either and she hopes that fight will be over this fall.
What about Social Security you ask? I am glad you asked that. Dave did pay into it through other jobs, but since there was a lapse of over 10 years, he doesn’t qualify. If he gets disability insurance, this will leave Mrs. Booker to fend for herself for insurance since the city has kicked retirees to the curb. She was blessed to be a stay at home mom most of her marriage. She will be forced to pay for the insurance to the tune of $1600 a month. If Dave has to go to a nursing home, which Mrs. Booker is NOT interested in, what pension he has after the insurance will go to the nursing home?
After everything this distinguished officer has done for this city, the thanks he gets is to make his beautiful bride, the love of his life, and mother of his children homeless. Now of course, their children would take care of her and try their best to help now. But, is that right? After giving so much to the city, the community, is it right to treat him this way? Is it right that this administration didn’t even CALL HIM?
I have just touched the surface on what this man has done for his family, his city, his community, his students, and his church. He is truly a man to be honored, revered and he has been dealt a devastating blow. How dare the City of Memphis further the destruction? Mrs. Booker will be preparing to sell the family home, a home that Dave built himself. You steal his benefits; you steal his security, and now his home.
As we left, I hugged Kim goodbye and she finished with “I know there are people that are worse off than us and I feel for them”. She referred to the Picture of Michelle and her Daughter that Amanda took. This is the type of family A.C. Wharton is destroying. Both of these wonderful individuals are thinking of others in the face of great adversity! They naturally care for others. I sit here with so much more I could say. I want Mayor Wharton to spend some time with Dave Booker, not to feel sorry for him, but to learn what it means to have integrity and heart because even on his worst day, he has more of those two things than the mayor has on his best day. I want one of those shirts because I am most definitely on Team Dave. #YouHaveOptions #IAmOnTeamDave