God always sends a blessing to help you stay the course

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When you take a stand that may be unpopular but needs to be taken, you do wonder if your efforts are worthwhile. There are many who will make it their business to attack your character and disparage your name and reputation — at any cost. At times like that when you may feel a little off, God always sends a blessing.

And such was a blessing that came my way from a law enforcement officer in my hometown of Atlanta. But what made this a particularly special blessing is that this officer patrols my old neighborhood, the historic Fourth Ward. My first home was located at 651 Kennesaw Ave. My high school was Henry Grady. My church was Fort Street United Methodist on Boulevard. And my elementary school was Our Lady of Lourdes at the intersection of Boulevard and Auburn Ave. This officer and his team safeguards my personal history.

This is the same community that gave us Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I am so very proud to be from that neighborhood, with truly humble beginnings. However, I am more honored to know there are men and women such as this officer who are patrolling my ol’ neighborhood and perhaps allowing another Allen West to grow up in a safe environment.

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To the men and women who patrol the Fourth Ward, thanks, and God bless you. To the officer who sent me the following message, may God bless you and your family, as you have blessed me. Next time I’m in Atlanta, get ready, I’m going on a right-seat patrol ride with you — if your supervisor will approve. And after the patrol ride, I look forward to slamming down some ice-cold cranberry juice and telling tall tales.

This simple note from an everyday hero is both humbling and inspiring.

Steadfast and Loyal, Officer R.J.

I am a City of Atlanta Police Officer. I operate on a crime suppression team that focuses its efforts in the Old Fourth Ward. Mr. West came from this community. Over the past few years he has served as an inspiration for my team. We operate in one of the harshest anti-police environments and knowing that a man like Mr. West came from this community has helped us get through some of our toughest situations. Often at the start of our shift, you can find our team huddled around a computer reading the latest from Mr. West. Those moments have often strengthened our beliefs enough to allow us to do what needed to be done. I know Mr. West is a busy man, but if you could forward this email to Mr. West it may serve as a little inspiration to know that he is appreciated. If he is ever in Atlanta and can make the time, I know that my team would love to take him out for a drink at our local “cop” bar and maybe give him a tour of his old neighborhood.

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