Monday, July 27, 2009

Hero Shot Dead in Carjacking.Destiny's Child Inc.

I don't know if you want to hear about my trying day, so you can skip to the more interesting bottom part of this journal, if you wish. I took Ronnie to court in the next town this morning, well not her, a witness for her. Her social worker took her, but would not transport her witness, insurance regulations or something. Ronnie wasn't ready when we went to get her, then the witness wasn't ready. The witness, Bobby, had already been drinking beer when he got in my van at 8.45 AM!! Ronnie and Bobby were dropped off at the court house, and I drove around the corner to get some of that special cat food that I like to feed my foster cats.
My cell phone rang, Ronnie said that as we were late, the court was postponed until the afternoon. Good thing I hadn't gone far. I picked them up, but Ronnie and I had to listen to Bobby going on and on about he had to have a beer. We went to the bank to cash a check that Ronnie had, only to find out that it had been written on an old account or something. Finally as we had to stop for gas, Bobby got him one. But I wouldn't let him even sit in the van with it, as TX has "Open Container Law". So we had to wait while he drank that. He stood with the door open so we couldn't drive off and leave him!! Finally we got back to our subdivision. We got rid of Bobby as fast as we could, and went to find Duke who had written Ronnie the check. Ronnie, Duke and I drove back to town to our branch of that bank and Duke got it straightened out. They had printed the wrong account number on his new checks!! So there is a reason why they say to check your checks!!

After I dropped Ronnie and Duke off, I came home and managed to swallow a little lunch. I was beat, and I knew that I had to pick Ronnie up again about 1.00 PM. I laid down to take a nap, and just as I dropped off, Jay called, so that stopped that nap. I drove back down to get Ronnie, who decided that as Bobby had fallen off the wagon after 4 months sobriety, she didn't need him in court. I dropped her off at the court house and went to Home Depot to do some un-shopping and shopping. It wasn't long before my cell phone rang, and she told me where she would be. It is a good thing I found a shady place to park, as she was still about half an hour. I was hot, the van was hot, and even running hot. Several cars on the freeway had their hoods up, steaming!! We made a couple more stops, and finally I was home by 4.00PM. Ronnie said that I had really helped her, and made her feel calmer over her whole ordeal, so I guess it wasn't a wasted day.

Here is the interesting part:

Vernon Forrest One of True Good Guys
Posted Jul 26, 2009 11:01PM By Kevin Blackistone (RSS feed)
The truth is that, often times, those of us in this business find ourselves struggling to say only good things about a recently deceased personality whose acts in life demanded that we make him or her known to the public. With Vernon Forrest, it seemed to be the opposite. It is not manufactured hyperbole for the purpose of being polite that you are hearing and reading such wonderful things about Forrest, a three-time boxing champ who we learned Sunday was fatally shot Saturday night in a carjacking attempt in Atlanta. A more famous Atlanta fighter, Evander Holyfield, may be most well-known as the Real Deal, but there was absolutely nothing phony about the good guy who was Forrest. As HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg, whose network carried many of Forrest's bouts, told the Associated Press on Sunday of Forrest: "He was one of the most gracious and charitable fighters in boxing and he will be missed by the entire boxing community and all of his friends at HBO."
Forrest will be missed most, however, by people beyond the ring -- people who need people, as the old Barbra Streisand song goes. Forrest told this story any time he was asked. It goes that he was hanging out at the home of a friend who worked with the psychologically and emotionally challenged. (How novel is that? He wasn't hanging out at the strip club or dogfighting ring.) He watched one of those in his friend's stead, an autistic child, who Forrest said struggled for an hour to tie his shoes. Forrest said he became so frustrated watching the child fight to do something most of us take for granted that he could no longer take it for granted. His friend refused to help the child because the friend hoped the child would break through alone. The child's battle broke Forrest, however, and Forrest eventually helped the child tie his shoes. Then Forrest set out to help others with similar struggles.

"If you sit there and watch a person take about an hour to tie his shoestrings, then you realize that whatever problems you got ain't that significant," Forrest recounted to the New York Times in August 2006 before a match against Ike Quartey. "A light just turned on in my head."
Deaths in Sports
It was the mid-'90s when Forrest had his epiphany. He was closing in on 20 professional fights without a loss but didn't have much bank or accolades to show for it. A native of Augusta, Ga., Forrest had planned to jumpstart his pro career in 1992 like Oscar De La Hoya with an Olympic gold medal from the Barcelona Games, but he was easily upset in his opening match and said afterward that he'd been stricken with food poisoning. Nonetheless, Forrest scrapped together around $80,000 with some other easily touched people, like his hip-hop video friend Ki Toy Johnson, and formed a company called Destiny's Child Inc.

Their idea: to provide long-term care to people like the autistic child whose shoestrings he helped tie. Forrest, who studied business administration at Northern Michigan University, and his partners purchased a suburban Atlanta home in 1996 and retrofitted it for the demands of their business. Destiny's Child, which took in patients from institutions or families that were no longer able to care for them, didn't get any cheaper to finance than it was to start up. This was healthcare, after all, the very industry President Obama and many others are saying is too costly to meet the needs of everyone who should have it and, as a result, needs to be reformed. Forrest was experiencing all of that.Forrest's payroll grew to include as many as 25 caregivers, coordinators, and administrative staff. There was a $5 million insurance policy as protection against malpractice that he had to pick up. And in 2000, the state of Georgia requested that Forrest's company take in 17 patients who were enrolled in a competing firm that folded. Forrest couldn't say no to the extra patients anymore than he could sit idly by as that autistic kid fought to tie his shoes. It didn't matter that the increased patient load nearly bankrupted Destiny's Child. The story continues that, with Forrest at the helm, Destiny's Child picked up the clothing and medical cost for the new patients.

Forrest was said to have financed the entire $100,000 rescue operation. It would be six more months before Medicaid payments kicked in. "One of the things that I always wanted to do is help people out," Forrest told Black Enterprise magazine in March 2003. "But I didn't want to do something cosmetic. I want to know what I do is going to make a difference in somebody's life." By 2003, Black Enterprise stated that Forrest's altruistic venture had 30 patients and generated just over $1 million in annual revenues that were derived mostly from Medicaid reimbursements. "Our objective as a whole is to make sure nobody is abused or mistreated, and so we try to do right by the people we have there," Forrest told the magazine. Forrest was standing out in the ring by then, too. He was 35-0 at the end of 2002 after beating Shane Mosley in back-to-back fights to win and retain the World Boxing Council's welterweight title.

But ultimately Forrest will not be remembered by what he did as a prizefighter. He'll be recalled for what he did as a fighter for people not as fortunate as he was. Vernon Forrest didn't just sound like one of the good guys in the sport of boxing. He sounded like one of the good guys in sports, period.

What a shame that we no longer have Vernon Forrest here. God must have needed him now.

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