POST TEXAS MAD DADS PROFILE
Best Practice in Action
In 1997, Post, Texas was a small, wealthy oil town of 4000 people 28 miles southeast of Lubbock with a major drug problem. Powder cocaine had invaded the second generation of land owners and oil barons’ children and had produced a demand for cocaine that sustained the businesses of 400 known drug dealers. The predominately white town was so overrun by drug dealers that the town’s folk wanted to lynch the Sheriff who they suspected and accused behind his back of being on the take.
Mrs. Palmer, wife of oil executive Bob Palmer, called the MAD DADS after learning about them on the internet. She wanted to start a Chapter and wanted to know how to go about doing it: her children had encountered the challenges of drug abuse and she had had enough. She told us to await a call from a Mr. Rodney Tidwell, one of her husband’s employees.
Rodney called the Omaha headquarters the next day and that began a series of events that brought the MAD DADS’ management team to Post in the summer of 1997. That team included the late, original MAD DAD, co-founder and then Chairman of the Board, John Foster, co-founders Eddie Staton and Bishop Robert Tyler and National Vice President of Planning Theron Cook.
After conducting a thorough community assessment including intensive interviews with the Mayor, City Council, Sheriff and the larger community, MAD DADS decided that a Chapter could be sustained as well as the problem confronted. However, major adjustments had to come from the city’s leadership support for the children and youth of Post. Their mentality was that the pool that had been built in the 1960s and Little League was enough to satisfy the needs of the youth and young adults.
After a series of meetings with the City Leadership and law enforcement convincing them that the status quo was totally insufficient for the youth of the 1990’s, MAD DADS held a series of meetings with the Post community to explain to them what the MAD DADS model was and what it was not. The Management Team met also with the leaders of the community based organizations and social service organizations to inform them of their role in working together and not to view MAD DADS as a competitor for tight government and private dollars.
The Team then met with a large group of high school and middle schoolers to alert them that the MAD DADS were concerned fathers and older uncles and cousins whose concern for their safety made them go out into the streets and literally put their lives on the line for them: that is how much they loved their youth.
Finally, the Team met with the men of Post who were interested in becoming MAD DADS. They heard first hand that MAD DADS are not vigilantes, carry no guns or weapons, and are fearless. The fearlessness comes from a belief in God and the understanding that in its entire history of conducting Street Patrols and other community outreach activities in some of the nation’s worse neighborhoods, no MAD DAD has ever been shot, knifed or harmed. From that meeting, a Post father stood up and out of the blue quoted Scripture: ”Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the Sons of God.” The MAD DADS to a man was touched and the assembled 100 people applauded.
The result of that meeting was the start of the MAD DADS Post Chapter with Rodney Tidwell as its President with 20 men signing up. With the new local Board of Directors with Bob Palmer Chairman, they decided that the youth needed a Teen Center to hang out after school to do their homework, play games, and be in a safe, drug-free environment. “Da House” as it was dubbed started later that summer and was an instant success serving upwards of 50 kids per day.
As for the drug dealers, their time was limited. The Post MAD DADS Street Patrol, after doing their own community assessment, pinpointed where the 400 drug dealers were located and strategically attacked the problem. Setting up teams of MAD DADS, they parked themselves in front of the cocaine houses, right off the property, and just stood there for hours. Despite threats from within the house that they would be shot, they stood their ground. Their presence deterred not only the would be customers, but the drug dealers themselves. After 90 days, the 400 were down to 40, and within 60 more days there was no drug dealers known in Post. Word on the street was that they went to Lubbock. The Sheriff kept his job.
The MAD DADS National office at their National Leadership Training Conference in Miami of 1998 awarded President Rodney Tidwell the MAD DAD of the Year Award, out of a total of 24, 000 MAD DADS. Under Rodney’s leadership, his Chapter logged over 150,000 volunteer hours, encountered 10,500 youth and saved countless lives by providing a drug-free Post, Texas. In June 2010, the MAD DADS Post Texas Chapter closed its doors for good due to lack of adequate funding.