Dave Pelzer is the epitome of a great American who overcame insurmountable odds and has dedicated his life helping others to help themselves. As a child he was subjected to cruelty and torture beyond comprehension. In the state of California, in the 1970’s Pelzer’s case was considered one of the most abusive in state’s history. While many professionals predicted an outcome of prison or even death for Pelzer, through the guidance of others he refused to become a product of his environment.
As a child he was beaten, starved, and confined in a dark basement, but years later he was rescued and became an elite aircrew member with the United States Air Force. Twenty years after being removed from his abusive setting, Pelzer was selected as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans. As an author he continues to break records on the national and International Best Sellers Lists, without a single dollar from his office used for promotion. Yet before the accolades and the commercial successes, for over 18 years Pelzer has given his all to instill and challenge people from all genres, particularly “youth at risk,” to better themselves, to appreciate those in the community who truly make a difference, and in Pelzer’s words, uphold “the greatness of America.”
An author and activist, Pelzer travels more than 200 days a year, yet he continues to donate time from his overwhelming schedule to individuals across the nation: Visiting schools, Juvenile Halls, foster care groups, keynoting fundraisers, etc., Pelzer’s generosity knows no bounds. When he hears of and confirms a need, Pelzer at times donates more than the actual need. Over the years, in addition to monetary donations, he has sponsored an entire group of eighth-graders and their chaperones to Disneyland: purchased dozens of computers and much needed equipment for schools: and hand-delivered hundreds of roses to teachers, foster parents, and social workers.
On a more personal side, when Pelzer discovered a foster family who adopts children with severe needs, he personally made it possible for the family to attend a special showing of their favorite movie ET, while the composer John Williams played the score. When asked if Pelzer would attend, the immediate reply was, as always, “No, that would take up a space that someone else could use.” These are just a few examples of what this kind and giving man has done to give the blessings back to his community.