Thursday, October 12, 2017 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews
Featured image: Bellwood Mayor Andre Harvey during a reception at McDonald’s in Bellwood on Oct. 2. | File
Back in May, during a ‘Breakfast with the Mayor’ event hosted by the Bellwood Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bellwood Mayor Andre Harvey spoke about his mentors growing up and a moment that he called decisive.
Growing up, I ran into a lot of problems. I wasn’t the nicest kid in the community. I was bad in school. Fortunately, though, I had mentors who mentored me. One of them was Ron Dunlap. He was about seven feet tall. He was a science teacher, then he became a principal. I was a little scared of him because he was so tall, but he mentored us. He took us under his wing and made us believe we were special.
Another one was a white police officer who took me under his wing and said, ‘Hey, you’re headed down the wrong path.’ He took me to Hillside to play football. He showed me he cared about me and let me know I could be special.
After playing football, I got a job at McDonald’s on First and Lake [in Maywood] many years ago. I loved working. I was so competitive, I didn’t want anyone to be able to lay down more patties than me, or more fries than me, or make more Big Macs and quarter pounders faster than me. I’ve always had a competitive edge.
I had a couple of friends who came to McDonald’s one day, at about 10:30 at night, to pick me up. There’s a gas station on Third and Lake, been there for years. One of my friends pulled out a replica gun and said, ‘We’re going to rob this station.’
That sounded like something I might have been interested in until I started thinking that it might set off a chain reaction that would put me some place I didn’t want to be. I told them, ‘You know what guys? I’m not going to do that.’
I decided to go back to work and called a cab to take me home. That was one of the deciding factors in my life that made me understand that I don’t have to be a follower. I need to be a leader at all times. VFP
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