by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
No one has ever doubted Richard Daniel's courage. His life's journey made him an Inductee of the Masters Black Belt Hall of Fame, holds a Top Secret Clearance, and is a licensed Armed Bodyguard and Certified Police/Military Hand to Hand Combat Instructor.
But with the publication of his first book, titled “Momma Loved Us, This I Know,” Daniels opened up his life to public view, showing how the indomitable will of his handicapped mother bridged the gap between hope and despair for her children.
All three children, and their mother, were chronically abused, first by their father, then by their step-father.
Raised poverty for nearly all of his young life, Daniels tells the story of a mother who would not let him quit school. Her songs, composed for them, let them know how truly they were each loved.
Life was harsh in Oklahoma, which was then still impacted by the Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s, one of the worst environmental disasters of the Twentieth Century throughout in the world. Millions fled their homes, migrating west, many settling in California. Not the worst drought in the history of the state, but bad enough, a combination of drought and poor land use created environmental disaster.
Those who stayed faced often harsh conditions, impacting every part of their lives.
LaVeeta Mae, Daniels' mother, lost her foot in a motorcycle accident at age sixteen. Married to an abusive husband, she found herself forced to choose between despair and pouring her life and energies into her children. Daniels portrays a woman who remained available to her children, committed to their care and well being.
It was his mother's courage which took Daniels into diverse fields, which include careers in the military and law enforcement, with a Medal of Distinction for Bravery, Commendation for Life Saving Award, the California Legislative Assembly Award, Outstanding Law Enforcement Administrator Award and Outstanding Leadership Award, Deputies and Staff.
August 8, 1969 Daniels was one of the officers called to the home of Sharon Tate when the murders of Tate and Sebring, Frykowski and Folger, and Parent.
Daniels also holds A.S. in Administration of Justice, a B.S. in Psychology and a M.A.
The book is a memorial to Daniels' mother, also written, Daniels said for this interview, to provide children today with a story showing what is possible, even when faced with seemingly insurmountably odds.