Mandela is inspiration for speaker at Black History Event
By Scott Andreae, SMDC/ARSTRATFebruary 19, 2014
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, COLO. (Feb. 19, 2014) -- A slogan about Nelson Mandela on a billboard served as the starting point and thread for remarks by a local police chief at the Black History Month observance for the operational headquarters of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command.
Todd K. Evans cited the billboard slogan -- "what one man can do" -- as a guidepost of how to behave in public and private service such as the military and law enforcement. He is chief of police in Fountain, a city with 25,000 residents southeast of Colorado Springs.
Evans had first-hand exposure to Mandela's influence during the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament in South Africa. At the time he was part of a security detail for actor and comedian Drew Carey, a soccer fan who was bringing supplies to schools in a number of African nations.
"He was a fighter," Evans said of Mandela, an anti-apartheid activist, longtime prisoner and president of South Africa from 1994-99. "All of us have to fight for what is right. That's what we have to stand for in our professions."
To illustrate a person's private service, Evans mentioned an unnamed celebrity who goes to high schools and children's hospitals without media coverage. "He was doing what one man could do," as influenced by his grandmother, Evans said. "He talked about how he had choices to make. He is still living that life today."
Evans saw other examples of doing the right thing from Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry and Barack Obama while he was on their security details.
"A little bit of what one person can do, I think, will make this world better," he said. "I ask that we all do that together."
The 2014 theme for Black History Month is "Civil Rights in America." Peter Stauffer, chief of the command's satellite communications directorate, gave opening and closing remarks at the observance.