Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Green Cove Springs Mayor Asks for Help from Mad Dads

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Green Cove Springs Mayor Asks for Help from Mad Dads

Article excerpt

Byline: Beth Reese Cravey, County Line staff writer

GREEN COVE SPRINGS -- The Mad Dads are here.

The national grassroots organization of fathers fed up with illegal drugs and gang violence invading their neighborhoods recently moved its headquarters to Jacksonville. And group leaders have responded to a request for help from Green Cove Springs Mayor Matthew Tinney Jr.

Get a group of committed, unafraid people together, Mad Dads will show them the way, they said.

"We feel this is a ministry," said Patrick Hadley, a Florida-based Mad Dads national vice president. "We are willing to work as long as it takes . . . Hopefully, we can get some fathers involved right here."

Mad Dads -- Men Against Destruction Defending Against Drugs and Social Disorder -- was founded in 1989 by a group of Omaha parents. From the original 18 people in Omaha, the group has grown to more than 55,000 nationally, with 60 chapters in 15 states, including 12 chapters in Florida. They hope to grow to 1.5 million strong nationwide.

The new headquarters is in Gateway Community Services in Jacksonville. The group held a national training conference in Jacksonville last month and hope a group from Green Cove Springs will attend the next session in 2002.

Despite ongoing law enforcement efforts, there is a continuing flow of drugs in and out of the city. Drugs and drug-related crime have left residents in some neighborhoods, particularly elderly people, fearful about coming out of their homes.

That cannot be tolerated, Hadley said.

"When seniors can't walk out . . . because they are afraid, their civil rights are being violated," he said.

Hadley and other Mad Dad officials met Tuesday with Tinney and the rest of the City Council. They described the group's origins and success in other communities, including Hadley's hometown of West Ocala. …

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