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Former gang member hopes to make a difference in Lodi

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Posted: Friday, November 28, 2008 10:00 pm

By the time David Valdez had reached his early teenage years, he was sporting gang tattoos, including a teardrop beneath his left eye.

He and his fellow gang members sometimes robbed Fresno migrant workers to make a quick buck.

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45 comments:

  • posted at 4:25 pm on Sat, Dec 13, 2008.

    Posts:

    Necca..i never had anything to say to you in the first place! My mom and dad never had anything to say to you guys...I DID...Your dad cant even call his OWN Sister up and say "hey how you doin you old lady..Happy thanksgiving" But NO! You call that family...im sorry the Respect that you were talking about has been out the door along time ago! So yea maybe i shouldnt have said anything on this stupid blog..but it irritated me a little to see this..when he cant even call his own sister..i could care less if he dont wanna talk to any of us..but at least my moom..his sister ,,his own blood! Now thats all i have to say!!

     
  • posted at 2:39 am on Thu, Dec 11, 2008.

    Posts:

    To Mr. Valdez and Family, what you are doing in your community and life is truly a blessing and very courageous. Keep up the good work. It's to bad that people are blinded and can't see that this man is doing Good in the world. But i guess you would rather read about murder and crime! Personal this is a very up-lifting story and we need more people like him in our world&community. :)

     
  • posted at 8:16 am on Wed, Dec 10, 2008.

    Posts:

    whatever ricky when have you ever tried to get ahold of muh parents.. as far as im concerned NEVER.. it realy bothers that mee that you would think that way of your own family but it just comes to show how you really feel theres no respect what so ever. n by the way this necca u talkin to i have nothin else to say to you

     
  • posted at 6:57 pm on Mon, Dec 8, 2008.

    Posts:

    "pk08" I would be more than gladly to but we can never get ahold of your family..lethy!! Too busy with church ministry.

     
  • posted at 12:35 pm on Fri, Dec 5, 2008.

    Posts:

    Halloween is over. Whats with the costumes? The quest for individualism has ended in the cliche' look of a hoodie. Very sad. It looks like they were edumacated locally.

     
  • posted at 3:54 am on Fri, Dec 5, 2008.

    Posts:

    paramedicboy123if y0u have s0methin y0u want t0 say ab0ut family then say it to family n0t these bl0gs ricky!!!!!!

     
  • posted at 3:34 am on Fri, Dec 5, 2008.

    Posts:

    Now those were unexpected comments by paramedicboy123.

     
  • posted at 2:38 am on Fri, Dec 5, 2008.

    Posts:

    Let me rephrase....you can go ahead and post anyting you want about the headlined story, but please keep personal attacks to yourself and leave comments that are unrelated to the story for another place.

     
  • posted at 2:02 am on Fri, Dec 5, 2008.

    Posts:

    Come on paramedicboy123, please keep personal Prejudice out of this blog.

     
  • posted at 6:24 pm on Thu, Dec 4, 2008.

    Posts:

    So what..is he going to teach the gang bangers not to talk to their Families and ignore them..when they are the ones that need to be spoken to about the gospel??

     
  • posted at 6:19 pm on Thu, Dec 4, 2008.

    Posts:

    How about Mr. valdez makes things right with his families! Him and his Family are strangers to his own families! Get that right first then spread the gospel to other gang bangers!

     
  • posted at 9:42 am on Tue, Dec 2, 2008.

    Posts:

    FIRST AND FOREMOST I WANNA THANK GOD FOR GIVING PASTOR DAVID THE GUTS TO GO OUT THERE WHERE NO ONE WILL GO AND PREACH! YOU WILL SEE NO OTHER CHURCH GO INTO ALLEYS AND TALK WITH THESE GANG MEMBERS. TO ALL THE PEOPLE WHO CRITICIZE...WE WILL BE PRAYING BECAUSE YOU WILL NEED IT THE MOST. GOD LOVES EVERYONE. NO MATTER WHAT TATTOOS YOU HAVE OR HOW YOU LOOK. THAT'S WHATS SO GREAT ABOUT GOD. HE DOESN'T CARE WHAT YOU'VE DONE IN THE PAST...ITS WHAT YOUR GOING TO DO IN THE FUTURE. THANK YOU PASTOR FOR EVERYTHING!!! LOVE YA!!!!

     
  • posted at 4:14 am on Tue, Dec 2, 2008.

    Posts:

    Good Job Pastor Valdez!If people practiced Christianity like Valdez, we would not have homelessness, crimes, murders, etc. Valdez is preaching Christian principles-Help one another! People gave up hope to help these kids. Valdez is reaching out.

     
  • posted at 4:11 am on Tue, Dec 2, 2008.

    Posts:

    Oh and by the way, that was my crib that those gunshots fired through and I thank God for someone reaching out to my dad like he is reaching out to these young people in Lodi because if it wasn't for someone taking time out of their busy life to reach my dad, my life would have taken a whole different road. That is all my dad is trying to do for the Lost in this city. Show them that there is a better way.

     
  • posted at 4:01 am on Tue, Dec 2, 2008.

    Posts:

    First I would like to say thanks Layla for this story on my dad. Good Job! Also, thanks to everyone for the positive feedback. As for those with more negative responses, I would like to say may God open your eyes to the hurt in this city as He did with my dad and may He open your heart and mind to what my dad is doing for this city. He doesn't have to be out there trying to reach this dying generation, but he is, why? Because he genuinly cares. My parents have always opened up their doors to the hurting and they have taken them in and given them hope. What is so bad about that? Well, good job Pops! I love you and if some of these people only knew all the things that we have been through and how faithful you have been, they wouldn't even dare speak of you with negativity.

     
  • posted at 3:43 am on Tue, Dec 2, 2008.

    Posts:

    pk08: Many people appreciate what your dad is doing. God bless.

     
  • posted at 1:06 am on Tue, Dec 2, 2008.

    Posts:

    thanx every0ne f0r the nice c0mments at least theres s0me pe0ple that appreciate the things my dad d0es in this city

     
  • posted at 3:59 pm on Mon, Dec 1, 2008.

    Posts:

    dogs4you I feel that you need to chill about the tattoo, that is probably a small reminder to mr. Valdez of his past mistakes, at least he is one of the ones that is trying to make a difference in this town, what have you done to make a difference? or what are you doing to make a difference, sounds like you have a whole lot of time on your hands, the time that Mr. Valdez has he is being very productive, I was able to attend the "Street Life" play it was amazing the whole sanctuary was packed with young people and they were recieving a very positive message, Keep ut the good work Pastor Valdez.

     
  • posted at 3:52 pm on Mon, Dec 1, 2008.

    Posts:

    To all the people that have really taken this article out of porpotion. All Pastor Valdez was doing is spreading the Gospel, if that is breaking the law so let it be, what is your problem with downing what he and the other young men were doing, it's not like they do this everyday, it was one friday night please get over it and try to understand that it is different strokes for different folks. Great job Pastor Valdez we need to be more like you, making a difference.

     
  • posted at 11:51 am on Mon, Dec 1, 2008.

    Posts:

    Cost of printing glossy flyers: $300Dedicating yourself to saving the at-risk youth of this community: PRICELESS.Please keep up the good work Pastor Valdez. It is the work of the volunteers in this community that sets Lodi apart from all others. And yes Layla... you did another excellant job.

     
  • posted at 6:41 am on Mon, Dec 1, 2008.

    Posts:

    I love this guy Lodi Police stop them for spreading the word of god Come on Car stereos are louderYou go guysI hope they show themselves moreLodi , grow up we need people like thiswow-wow

     
  • posted at 5:51 am on Mon, Dec 1, 2008.

    Posts:

    I see the papercutting, taxpaying, t&c, lodeyean is bashing away again about people he has never met. You have learned nothing from your suspensions? After your first two posts I thought you were on your way to recovery but then you just couldn't keep from falling off the deep end again.

     
  • posted at 5:36 am on Mon, Dec 1, 2008.

    Posts:

    get over it dogs4you, its just a tattoo. god dont care about the outer appearance its whats inside that counts.

     
  • posted at 3:45 am on Mon, Dec 1, 2008.

    Posts:

    Lodian, loadeye and dogs4you: Thank you for the compliments! I appreciate it.

     
  • posted at 2:39 pm on Sun, Nov 30, 2008.

    Posts:

    A former gang member comes home. However with heavy handed cops patrolling downtown I doubt we'll see many of our young people coming back after college. This weekend for example; a young woman is playfully pushed by her friend as they exit one of the bars, and so she loses her balance. Cop sitting in his Patrol Car leaps out and arrests her for "drunk in public." And intimidated friends who tried to stand up for her. Was she over the limit? Probably. But without the horseplay the shavehead would not have had cause to stop her. So WRONG.

     
  • posted at 2:18 pm on Sun, Nov 30, 2008.

    Posts:

    Mr. Valdez as an educator I am truly grateful, as a mother I am indebted. May God richly bless your ministry as you introduce troubled people to the life-changing ministry of Jesus Christ. My family and I will pray for your ministry.

     
  • posted at 1:18 pm on Sun, Nov 30, 2008.

    Posts:

    Amen and God bless each and everyone of you that understand and are willing to stand up and be a part of the solution and not the wine toodling society that seem to only care for their greedy, stingy little groups that enrich and cater to their little insider cliques who only glean their wines and catered meals from the well-connected who are reimbursed by the city coffers for the well to do at their Wine&Roses and Rosewood overpriced venues. Venues like Hutchins sit empty so these patty-whacked establishments suck up city revenues in order to survive. Hutchins Street Square has the facilities and it;s time they're utilized by local caterers that have twice the reputation that Munson's failing ventures do and it's time the city of Lodi uses these venues rather than pander to those overpriced and undervalued services. This is about Lodi's survival, not just the Munson family!

     
  • posted at 8:26 am on Sun, Nov 30, 2008.

    Posts:

    It's too bad that we don't have the funding to help the young men doing this work. Everyone they save is a life and a family living productive lives.

     
  • posted at 7:06 am on Sun, Nov 30, 2008.

    Posts:

    OTH, I totally understand! I'm greatful for David. I've been working with children for a few years myself and I have children. We have to guide our young people. I'm Blessed there is more help in Lodi. Victory outreach is an amazing church. I went to that church growing up. They have awsome ministries.

     
  • posted at 3:46 am on Sun, Nov 30, 2008.

    Posts:

    lodiboundThank you for recognizing the fact the teardrop is as much of his past as anything. The young men that he works with can't just scrub off their tats. May they serve as a reminder of a life that is past.

     
  • posted at 3:21 am on Sun, Nov 30, 2008.

    Posts:

    It is always a real inspiration to make a change in one's life that evidences overcoming one's past. I congratulate David Valdez, and hope that our youth now have received a better message from so many in this country. Each child should be provided the opportunity to learn, to excel, the support from the child's parents and community, which provides the right kind of respect, and activities which keep them out of gangs. Most Americans have sent a loud and clear message. It isn't about race. It's about treating each other as equals. Good job, Mr. Valdez.

     
  • posted at 2:10 am on Sun, Nov 30, 2008.

    Posts:

    dogs4you wrote on Nov 29, 2008 7:29 PM:" I don`t doubt that Valdaz has good intentions, however if he hasn`t removed the teardrop from under his eye, I would suggest spending a couple of bucks and have it removed. Anything to distance himself from his former lifestyle. "Dogs4you, I don't know what walk of life you came from. David had a very tough one. I'm sure David is not proud of his choice of a tattoo on his face, but he lives with it. There are bigger fish to fry than to worrie about a tattoo. He's doing a good thing in this community and that's what we have to be looking at!

     
  • posted at 1:48 am on Sun, Nov 30, 2008.

    Posts:

    David, Way to go!! There need to be more people in this town like you. These kids need an outlet and you give them that. How amazing....

     
  • posted at 3:46 pm on Sat, Nov 29, 2008.

    Posts:

    Well done, David. You will be in my prayers. I've worked with these kids (albeit as a substitute teacher), and I can see how much they need people like you in their lives to show them the light. May God bless you and may you go far!

     
  • posted at 1:31 pm on Sat, Nov 29, 2008.

    Posts:

    Well written article Layla, and may the slug that suggested that you write articles on lesser events eat his words.

     
  • posted at 1:29 pm on Sat, Nov 29, 2008.

    Posts:

    I don`t doubt that Valdaz has good intentions, however if he hasn`t removed the teardrop from under his eye, I would suggest spending a couple of bucks and have it removed. Anything to distance himself from his former lifestyle.

     
  • posted at 11:19 am on Sat, Nov 29, 2008.

    Posts:

    And let's not forget Brother David's compassionate wife Alice, who's very dedicated to these issues also. Here are two very dedicated members of society who work with and help those who are forgotten by society. God bless you both and thank you for caring and devoting your lives to helping others.

     
  • posted at 11:00 am on Sat, Nov 29, 2008.

    Posts:

    David, I can tell you from experience that these kids respect someone who comes from your background way more than someone who doesn't. I have been involved in a youth ministry at CYA that builds a relationship with people outside prison walls. The young men I have dealt with over the years respect me because I've been there, where other men haven't. You are truly a beacon of hope for these people, May God bless you in everything you do to help turn lives around. You are doing one of the greatest services to mankind possible. Thank you.

     
  • posted at 8:36 am on Sat, Nov 29, 2008.

    Posts:

    What a great article Layla, and bless you for giving recognition to Brother David and his great compassionate gift of time and using his ministry to work with those who need it most. This is such an amazing manand his boundless energy, limits and Christian faith and ministry are endless! God blessyou Pastor David and all the great things you do and stand for. You are well respected by not only by myself, but all of our colleaugues and friends. Keep up the great work and good luck tonight.

     
  • posted at 8:29 am on Sat, Nov 29, 2008.

    Posts:

    DavidMay you have great success in your work. We need it and not too many people will do it. May God bless you and good luck

     
  • posted at 7:47 am on Sat, Nov 29, 2008.

    Posts:

    Dude still looks like a gangster to me...

     
  • posted at 3:47 am on Sat, Nov 29, 2008.

    Posts:

    David Valdez has been blessed with a good brain and a higher calling. Let's all pray that he can make a difference. This Gang stuff is a FAR greater threat to what we USED to call "The American Way of Life" than all of this al-Qaeda terrorist BS that we're spending zillions on. Our country is rotting from the bottom up. Values have been lost.Our "permissive" society has confused true progressiveness with a lack of common sense. And the middle class suffers because of it. Yet, only they can fix it....or lose it entirely. Viva David Valdez and all others like him.

     
  • posted at 2:17 am on Sat, Nov 29, 2008.

    Posts:

    David... I think what you are doing is very cool. God has called you and you are blessed. I'll keep you in my prayers as you go forth and reach for the lives of these young people. What an awesome thing you do.

     
  • posted at 12:31 am on Sat, Nov 29, 2008.

    Posts:

    God bless you, David Valdez. Thank you!

     
  • posted at 12:30 am on Sat, Nov 29, 2008.

    Posts:

    Well done, Layla.

     
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