Saturday, February 15, 2014

In Memory of Michael Smith's Son: Elliot B. Smith

Patchogue Patch News Article Elliot B. Smith Son of Michael Smith
Elliot and 3 children Junior, Naomi & Niara

All that Elliot wanted was to be a good parent to his three children, which he adored and they him. Close friends remember him saying, "all I want to do is to go home" after being estranged from his wife for more than a year and going through a stressful divorce and custody battle.

It was warm balmy spring morning, in April 2012 when I received a cellphone call from my son, "I'm coming to visit you dad and then a friend in Raleigh, North Carolina." His voice was excited, and always squeaked with a high pitched tone as he laughed. Knowing that he surprised whoever he was talking to. Eight hours later, we hugged, and talked about how the family was doing back in New York. A few minutes later, I wanted to show off my cooking skills but he gently declined with a smirk and wanted to go out for some McDonalds.

We spent the day together and I had to show him off to my friends and neighbors. The next morning he drove to Raleigh and returned a day later. Because he was rising DJ', at the top of his game. He spent some time preparing songs for his next gig, on his Apple laptop, as I watched in amazement. He ironed some clothes for his trip back and we watched television, until the TV was watching us.

The next morning, he left to return to New York and while he was traveling, he texted a video to me.

I had to laugh because, it was just his way or most charming spontaneous characteristic to make people laugh, if he detected sadness. He loved to have fun, loved life and loved people. I was so grateful about his visit that I decided to visit him and my grandchildren, in May 2012. We spent a week together, going to the movies, bowling with the grands and many of his DJ gigs.

Spending time with my grands was like imagining what heaven would be. Naomi, the youngest never met me but she hugged my neck like a bear. Elliot was teaching me to be a grandfather because I wasn't much of dad, when he was a child. Not that I didn't want to or didn't try (it's complicated). I returned home to Weldon, North Carolina, praising God for my son and grateful that my son always showed me respect, no matter what happened in the past, and always said, "Dad I've got your back."

June 11th 2012 I received a chilling telephone call from one of his many friends, and a call that no parent ever dreams of or wants to hear about 2 am, in the morning. She called me dad, and said, "I think Elliot has been in an accident or might have been killed on his motorcycle, on his way to my house". I called the police and they confirmed that Elliot had died, after being hit by a SUV.

About 9:30 pm, the night before the accident, he and I had chatted on Facebook, and I asked How are you doing son because I hadn't heard from him for awhile. I said, "I'm not sure if I thanked you or forgot to tell you, thank you for showing me a good time during our visit and introducing me to all your friends and business partners."

He said, "hey dad I'm good and it was great having you visit." "Ok son, I'm just checking on my blessing, because a 2nd chance at being a dad doesn't happen often." "So take care and be safe."

Before my son's passing, I felt like a soaring eagle and now, I feel like my wings have been clipped and the wind beneath my wings has ceased to exist. The usual question haunted me, why God? And I finally concluded with, why not me, our family or his small lovely family. I think it's a question that we all may have to ask, when a tragedy happens in our own backyards.

What lessons can we learn about life and how delicate our lives are, as human beings, in a world that is spinning out of control? In order to make sense of everything that happened before and after this struggle. I had to simply go to my Lord because his word states that "My people are destroyed because you have rejected knowledge" Hosea 4:6 

Continuing to have faith in God, strengthened by his word, led by the power of the Holy Spirit and following the humble example of Jesus has truly returned the wind beneath my wings. So that I can soar like an eagle, content no matter what happens around me, full of the joy and peace that only Jesus gives because God does not make any mistakes.

More than two hundred of my son's friends on Facebook helped to support me through this ordeal, which shows how God can work through faithful individuals and I'm grateful. I've learned that having gratitude is better than having an attitude about the pitfalls of life because life can be short. I no longer ask why I've lived 67 years of many mistakes and a few successes or why do some parents outlive their children.

Elliot's last DJles Albums 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sixty one year young Marine's Mission to Prevent Suicides

North Carolina's hot, steaming summer, as usual scorched Weldon's pavements and scattered most people into cool air conditioned rooms to beat the heat but retired Marine Chuck Lewis (61 years young) said, "he decided one day to take a little stroll" and walked approximately 3200 miles from Seattle, Washington, on March 31, 2013 to arrive in Weldon, North Carolina on September 12, 2013 for his "Fallen brothers."

It's not about heroism but it's about "standing up to make a difference" to help prevent the rising suicide rates among our young men and women who sacrificed their lives serving, in Iraq, Afganastan and other military deployments for Americans who would rather beat the heat and forget our soldiers. Oh sure, it's easy to say thank you to our soldiers on Facebook and other social media sites but how many are willing to take a few minutes, to donate to a worthy cause or walk the extra mile for the wounded and disabled vets.

It was near noontime when I recieved a call from Mayor Julia Meacham to grab a camera and meet Chuck at one of our favorite restaurants, Jermonico's Cafe and Catering on route 158. Well, I don't believe in coincidences, niether does Chuck and so as I rushed from Town Hall to my apt and down the stairs. Low and behold, there was Chuck and pushcart bearing a sign in red letters "Walking for the Fallen."

Here's what Chuck had to say about his mission to help prevent suicides of soldiers suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Chuck is truly an inspiration and role model for us all to challenge our egos and amnesiac lifestyles of leisure. Follow the link for a slideshow of his visit to Weldon and other states. 

By the way, Chuck says that he has become "addicted to North Carolina's ice cold "sweet tea" and hospitality.

Mayor Julia Meacham Interacts with Weldon's Community of Neighbors Effectively

One person can make a difference but a community of neighbors working together will change their future. "Let's Talk about Weldon" brings residents, Mayor Julia Meacham and the commissioners face-to-face to resolve all town issues and finds solutions for the whole community. As a active participant, I have first hand experience with the mayor's personal, positive interaction with residents, in moving Weldon forward to continue to be a fun, vibrant, growing community attracting more businesses, which, more importantly will benefit residents.

So, what's all this empty talk about Johnny Draper trying to run again, against Mayor Meacham? Yes, I said "Empty Talk" especially, after I read the following news article: Weldon voters to pick between Meacham, Draper in fall's mayor's race, which made me chuckle, because Draper was asked to run again, not on merit but because a select few (unnamed) requested him to run for mayor again. Draper admitted that he said, "No" to the request.

On the other hand, I have personally followed and documented Mayor Meacham working with residents, commissioners, town workers and businesses to complete town projects together before she was elected mayor and  for approximately, the last four years. Before I provide a list of their joint accomplishments. Let me say, that pictures tell the real story and provide evidence that should influence residents to cast their votes for Mayor Meacham.

Our mayor is always willing to get her hands dirty, work in the trenches to clean up Weldon and, is not afraid of hard work.
Because presentation is so important to attract families and businesses, the oldest standing building downtown is undergoing preservation.
Photo by Della Rose 

1. Improvement of Weldon's image and protected neighborhood property values by decreasing property taxes by four cents for the past four years.
2. Cleaned up and removed 30 dilapidated business buildings and houses making Weldon a more desirable town attract new businesses and families.
3. Thirty new businesses opened in the last 3 1/2 years.
4. Established a new Street Department Building.
5. Promoted new active community and civic events.
6. Presently seeking new business owners to acquire property and provide jobs for residents.
7. Dedicated to remain in touch with the community.

Community Events are what brings people together to socialize and have fun.

Spending time with children to understand their needs and wants for the community.

Working alongside committed residents like Ms. Brooks is one of the mayors favorite activities that make for successful events.
Roanoke Rapids River provides one of the nations best water rescue training locations 
Fishing continues to attract fisherpersons of all ages & genres
Dedicated business owners like Jerry (in white) continue to grow and serve the community. Retired Marine visits Jermonico's Cafe and Catering, after a 3200 mile walk to help prevent suicides among flallen soldiers.
We are proud of our Mayor Meacham who continues to work with the residents, commissioners and businesses to improve Weldon. Vote for her this coming election in November 2013.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ethnography in the public eye; a few lessons along the way | Impact of Social Sciences

Ethnography in the public eye; a few lessons along the way | Impact of Social Sciences:
One of my favorite authors, speaking from experience, tests and proves that staying within ones professions allows for those with different talents and skills to work together to embrace the public's interest.
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