While the focus of Brothers Before Others has always been honoring and assisting police officers and their families, the generosity of our members combined with the heartfelt concern for the communities they serve sometimes makes some tragedies too hard to ignore.
In April of 2017, 74 year old Cleveland resident and father of 9 children, Robert Godwin Sr was senselessly murdered with no provocation. In response to the horror of the tragedy, the members of BBO instantly felt like something needed to be done. Within less than 36 hours, $5000.00 had been raised directly from the pockets of our members, cops from all over the country.
Jonny Castro of Jonny Castro Art was simultaneously creating a one of a kind portrait for Mr Godwin. Again, while Jonny’s focus is honoring line of duty deaths, similar to BBO, this tragedy struck something in him that compelled him to take action. Jonny then delivered the portrait do BBO to ensure that it was properly delivered.
BBO’s founder, Michael Burke, then made contact with Cleveland Police Captain Kieth Sulzer, who had direct contact with Mr Godwin’s extended family. Captain Sulzer was able to assist BBO with ensuring our gifts were best used. Captain Sulzer indicated that the youngest of Mr Godwin’s children were most in need to assistance. As such, Michael secured several other items individual to each child, such as sneakers, backpacks and basketballs, to add to the items and money already collected.
In October of 2017, members of BBO’s Board and Administration took a road trip to Cleveland hosted a lunch with Mr Godwin’s youngest children and their mother. During the visit, BBO presented them with the portrait, a $5000.00 check and the gifts for the children. The visit didn’t end there.
As fate would have it, Captain Sulzer, who heads the Cleveland Police Foundation, a group that strives, through community service, to strengthen the bonds between the police department and the citizens it serves, was also hosting a ‘baby shower’ for displaced and disadvantaged mothers at the Cleveland Providence House. Michael Burke had known this ahead of time and came prepared.
After leaving lunch with the Godwin family, BBO then head over to the Providence House in order to donate a trailer full of toys, supplies and a cash donation.
Our ability to do the things we do is a direct result of the people we surround ourselves with. Our members, our partners and our sponsors collectively make this group what it is, and the Board and Administration are eternally grateful.