Today was an emotional day for me as we laid to rest one of the great human beings of the twentieth century. Mrs. Nancy Reagan invited me into her inner circle as a main speaker who created and conducted high school and junior high school assembly programs throughout the U.S. Every “First Lady” develops a priority platform, and because we had a huge drug challenge, coupled with an out of control teenage suicide epidemic, Mrs. Reagan titled her program: “Just Say No.”
Consequently, between 1983 and 1989 I delivered her positive choices program (in my own motivational way always concluding each speech with my song, “I’ll Build You A Rainbow”) in thousands of schools in all 50 states, to an average of 3 to 4 schools every day, averaging 2000 students per school, (which was 6,000 to 8,000 students per day), for 140 school days per year, over a six year period of time.
When you do the math, that’s over 5 million teenagers and their educators whom Mrs. Reagan allowed me to inspire by giving me the chance to maximize my dedication to make a difference as a young professional speaker. I shared the national stage with her on many occasions, was invited to dine at the White House, and learned to love and admire everything about her and her amazing husband President Ronald Reagan.
ATTACHED is a montage of my first album of original songs and my first two books I wrote that obviously were inspired by our program. “Getting High-How To Really Do It” became a national best seller, and the music cassette sold tens of thousands of copies as my first record as a recording artist.
While one speaker was sponsored into some schools by Jostens, and others by Pizza Hut, Herff Jones and Balfour, I was the lucky one endorsed by the White House and Mrs. Reagan’s anti-drug/suicide prevention/parental involvement/drug free schools movement, and often shared the program with actor “Mr. T” as a one-two punch!
I am humbled and eternally grateful that I was also in the special Washington DC meeting when we created the “Drug Free Schools Zone” and “Red Ribbon Week” that to this day remain a part of Mrs. Reagan’s lasting legacy of leadership she leaves behind.
How crazy and embarrassing it is that today is the first time in many years that I’ve reflected on the difference Mrs. Reagan made in my life! May we learn the lesson and continuously thank those who make a difference before it’s too late. May Mrs. Reagan rest in peace, now that she is in the loving arms of her incredible Ronald who clearly went to heaven.
May God bless America in choosing a comparable President and First Lady who will again run a world class, honorable, noble, sophisticated, elegant show, who realize we are truly one nation, under God.