I cannot believe that it was 30 years ago today, that SURVIVE INSTITUTE was born. The name was created on a restaurant napkin, at Maury’s Tiny Cove in Cheviot, Ohio. The title word “SURVIVE” seemed so accurate to define our mission: teach people how to LIVE and face their fears…in spite of danger!
During that dinner, Mike encouraged me to listen to the advice of Bob Braun, a respected and popular host of a Regional TV show on WLWT TV in Cincinnati (The Bob Braun Show).
I had just completed my fourth consecutive day with Bob Braun’s live TV audience, responding to his Show’s concern about an active crime wave in Greater Cincinnati, including several unsolved rapes and then the vicious rape, murder and discovery of a mutilated body–a police officer’s daughter, Jerilyn Stanfield*. Jerilyn was a wonderful young Mom who had been missing several days after being abducted from a crowded mall, in the middle of a Sunday afternoon.
The community was in an uproar. Women in particular, were paralyzed with fear, going nowhere … unescorted.
Afraid myself (of live television more than the active criminals) Mike convinced me that as “private citizen spokesperson” I could cross the line of political correctness and silly safety tips and teach simple street fighting truths that save lives:
“HIT FIRST … it’s your RIGHT!”
“Go for the THROAT!”
“See yourself WINNING … for the Love of your Family!”
“Hope the criminal grabs you, because you will BREATHE and stop the bad guy’s AIR, thus ending this community nightmare!”
Well, that was SHOCKING SAFETY ADVICE in those days! No one could believe I’d dare teach that on TV!
After the final interview, Bob Braun encouraged me to write a book and create a consulting-professional speaking business. I’ll never forget his advice: “You are different–you connect. Get a PO Box number immediately so people can write to you and I”ll help you promote the book when it’s done!” Wow. This was mind-spinning! I was “retired” from my 8 year stint as a Deputy Sheriff–for just over a year, and I was so happy just caring for our first baby. Starting a business was the last thing on my mind.
So we purchased a small PO Box. A week later, Mike opened it and found one piece of paper. It said “SEE THE CLERK”. The Post Office clerk then heaved several bags of mail on the counter-over 7,000 envelopes (considered a tremendous TV response back in those pre-email days.)
I still have every letter.
Most letters were long. Most were filled with fear, learned helplessness and assumed weakness. I found their collective pain and self-doubt to be totally unacceptable!
EVERYONE received a personal response.
Yep, I was in business!
SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR FAMILY WHO HELPED US IN THE “CREATION” DAYS, AND ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE TRUSTED US WITH YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT OF OUR INDEPENDENT MISSION. WORKING TOGETHER, WE ABSOLUTELY HAVE SAVED LIVES AND POSITIVELY INFLUENCED THE PERSONAL SAFETY INDUSTRY TO “UPDATE” PUBLIC EDUCATION!
*God bless you, Jerilyn Stanfield! Your death strengthened our spine and paved the path for us to rise above safety rhetoric and “political correctness” in order to teach countless others how to physically and emotionally SURVIVE! debilitating fear and horrible crime. Your death proved that all law-abiding citizens need to know the “minimum” on how specifically to save their own life, because … when “seconds” count, police and security are just “minutes” away. RIP