This month, we said goodbye to a dear friend and a beloved colleague who was a truly inspirational man. David Williams joined Ready, Willing & Able in 2000 as one of the “men in blue” and went on to become a trusted case manager just a few years later after working in the private sector. This November would have marked David’s 10 years of service with The Doe Fund, and he will be sorely missed by the “men in blue,” graduates, and staff. An incredible friend to all who passed through his door, David will be remembered for his infectious good mood, his mesmerizing passion, and his integrity.
At the 2009 Ready, Willing & Able Graduation Ceremony, David spoke to hundreds of graduates as our first-ever alumni speaker. The below passage from his speech is a beautiful reflection on the man that David was – and the type of man he inspired our “men in blue” to be.
“Early on in my time as one of the ‘men in blue,’ I found a wallet with $300 in it. I remember coming out of a building and seeing my supervisor standing with a woman who was holding her baby and crying. He asked me if I found a wallet. At that moment, the man I was working to become was at a standoff with the man I used to be. I could have kept the money and nobody would have known about it. I asked, ‘Why, what happened?’ The woman told us she had lost her last $300 – money that she needed to pay her babysitter so that she could keep working. As I heard her story, something inside me made me reach into my pocket and hand her the wallet.
“When I got back to my facility, my director Nazerine Griffin sat me down in his office and said, ‘David, do you know what integrity is?’ I answered, ‘Yes, Mr. Griffin, I sure do. Integrity is doing the right thing when nobody else is looking.’ At that moment, I realized that integrity is the principle on which every part of Ready, Willing & Able was built – from the trusting relationships between staff and the trainees to the drug counseling and testing, and especially in that broom and bucket. By giving back that wallet, I demonstrated integrity.
“Over the years, I have helped hundreds of men, passing on the lessons I learned during my time in Ready, Willing & Able, with the fundamental principle of integrity as my guide. The ‘men in blue’ I work with think I’m giving them strength, but what they may not know is that they give me strength in return.”