When it comes to conquering obstacles, twelve-year-old Micah Blackwell has weathered the storm.
One look at the little boy with the twinkling eyes and the bright, inquisitive smile and it would be difficult to believe that he was abandoned at birth at three days old.
But little Micah captured the heart of Belinda Cannon, a single mother, who fell in love with the infant with the soulful brown eyes. Although Cannon had already raised four grown children of her own, she adopted Micah and lovingly took him into her home. As he grew older, Micah prayed for a little brother. When Micah was seven, Micah was filled with joy and excitement when Cannon adopted his three-month-old brother, Joshua.
At the age of nine, Micah attended a sporting event at the Crenshaw Christian Center, and that is where Micahs young life changed forever.
While at the event, Sgt. Ralph Morales from the Los Angeles Police Departments Community Relations Section struck up a conversation with Micah. The sergeant was immediately attracted to Micahs engaging and energetic personality.
He and his little brother walked up to me and he just started talking, recalls Morales. I gave him my card. I said, If you need something, you call me. He said, What time do you get into work?
At 7:30 a.m. sharp the following morning, Micah telephoned Morales. The two immediately became phone buddiescalling each other frequently as their friendship blossomed and grew.
It wasnt long before Micah was adopted by eight other officers in the Community Relations Section and they also became mentors to the boy. The policemen provided Micah with advice on a variety of issues and lent an ear whenever Micah needed someone to talk to.
Hes just very sweet natured and very polite, said Sgt. Mark Durrell, another of Micahs buddies. We went shopping for school clothes and he opened the door for me at the store. Hes very wise for his years. Very upbeat and cheerful and he has a faith in God that is just phenomenal, said Durrell.
The whole office has really adopted Micah, said Morales. He knows everyone in the Community Relations office. He shares how his day is going and how important it is for him that he has someone to lean on. Everyone makes sure he gets the support, help, and assistance he needs.
Nobody was more surprised than Micah when on his 10th birthday, the Community Relations officers sponsored a party for him at the Los Angeles Police Academy.
And Lt. Fred Booker recently surprised Micah by taking him to Parker Center to meet Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton. And Micah was filled with awe and excitement when Booker presented him with his very own brand new laptop computer.
One of Micahs dreams was to be able to attend the Frederick K.C. Price III Christian School. Cannons mother also wanted him to attend the school, but because she was on a fixed income she could not afford to send him.
While talking to his mentors in the Community Relations section, Micah revealed that his dream was to attend the school and to one day become a pastor.
When Micahs mentors realized that Micahs dream was to be able to attend the Frederick K.C. Price III Christian School, they flew into action. Through the generosity of Micahs church, the Ray Charles Foundation, the Los Angeles Protective League, and the Community Relations mentoring team, Micah was able to afford the tuition and attend the school.
Since attending the school, Micah has blossomed into an exceptional student and has eagerly immersed himself in many of the schools activities. He is an active member in karate, plays basketball, and sings in the Crenshaw Christian Centers Childrens choir.
And the school has taken notice of Micahs exceptional ability as well–he has received numerous school and church commendations for his scholastic work and activities.
Officer Ruth Beadle, another of Micahs Community Relations buddies, often drops by the school to check on Micah and make sure that he has clothes and school supplies.
And Micah cherishes and maintains the close ties with his mentors in the Community Relations section. He still calls them several times a week to keep them appraised of his school and social activities, and solicits their advice whenever he is in need of a sympathetic ear.
As for that fortunate business card that Sgt. Morales handed him long ago, Micah has had the card framed. For Micah, it is a reminder of how help and caring from friends can turn a young mans life around and fill him with hope and encouragement for the future.
Paying homage to the generosity and kindness of his mentors in the police department, Micah gave a tribute to his friends when he appeared as the keynote speaker at a recent Religious Community Forum at the Police Academy last January. In a heartfelt speech, Micah revealed his incredible journey of being left by his maternal mother at the hospital, the personal challenges he had endured as a foster child, his hopes for the future, and how grateful he was to the members of the Los Angeles Police Department who have showered him with attention and been so kind to him over the years.
When Micah finished, he received a standing ovation. There was not a dry eye in the house.