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Helping a Little Drummer Girl
By Dee Perez
NAPS New York Area Vice President
The 68th NAPS National Convention in New Orleans became very special with a humbling humanitarian act witnessed by 1,232 NAPS members. On Thursday afternoon, during his nomination for Capitol-Atlantic Area vice president, Troy Griffin—who was running unopposed and is a friend to the entire Executive Board—introduced nine-year-old Tainika Meredith.
She played a musical instrument that can be purchased at any Home Depot store. However, the musical talent she displayed cannot be purchased at any Home Depot store. Tainika played drums on two empty buckets that probably, at one time, contained spackle. The music she played was typical of the famous New Orleans spirit: wonderful, joyous, celebratory and fun that brings pleasure to your ears.
This wonderful, spirited musical display was brought to light when Troy and fellow branch member Elaine Fordham came across Tainika displaying her musical talents on Bourbon Street while her mother, Darnika Meredith, watched closely beside her.
Unfortunately, Tainika and her mother were out on Bourbon Street trying to earn money to improve their living conditions. They were living with friends in an environment not ideal for kids.
Convention nominations for area vice presidents are limited to two minutes. But, as Tainika played her musical rhythms for all to enjoy, the two minutes were waved. NAPS members present were treated to a wonderful display of musical talent.
When it was announced that anyone could make a contribution to help Tainika and her mom with their difficult financial circumstances, NAPS members rushed over and stuffed her plastic drums full. More than $3,000 was collected in this five-minute frenzy.
When order was restored, President Ivan D. Butts gave Darnika and her daughter an opportunity at the microphone to tearfully thank Troy and Elaine, as well as the NAPS members for their generous donations and say how grateful they were to everyone.
This wonderful act of charity didn’t end there. Troy and Elaine gave Darnika information about the next local Postal Service job fair and how to apply in order to, hopefully, become part of our postal family. This act of humanitarian kindness from Troy and Elaine to notice this child and her mother was the highlight of the convention week for me and many others
May God grant us all the self-awareness that Troy and Elaine were given on this day to help a family in need. Hopefully, one day soon, Darnika will be a part of our great postal family and, perhaps down the road, a member of the NAPS family, as well.
Don’t forget! I need everyone to sign nonmembers, including postmasters!
With dignity and respect, always.