FCN is greatly saddened by the loss of Board Treasurer, David Lewis, a hero and “a towering figure in stature and spirit” (as eulogized by former President Bill Clinton), who turned his life around and gave it to the community. At the age of 54 years, David was shot in the back in a Palo Alto parking lot on June 9th, 2010 after it is believed he walked away from an argument. As a school drop-out who resorted to gangs and drugs, David Lewis was sentenced to ten years to life in prison at age 19. Against all odds, he rehabilitated himself and devoted his life to community-based drug, alcohol and violence prevention programs.
A Tragic Loss
David co-founded Free At Last (FAL) a substance abuse treatment intervention prevention movement that has been documented as one of Center for Substance Abuse Treatment best practices. During its first year, FAL helped to reduce violence in the East Palo Alto community by 87%. David was featured on Bill Moyer’s documentary, Circle of Recovery and NOW show in 2003. David was also featured in the BET documentary titled AIDS in Prison and was honored with The Jefferson Award for Public Services.
Described as charming, personable, and funny, David was known as someone with an infectious vision and passion for providing second chances to those many had given up on. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, East Palo Alto Police Chief Ron Davis said, “He was a stellar person in the community. He worked hard. He wasn’t without fault – he would be the first to tell you that. But to change that into something positive for the community is what I think his legacy will be.” His fearless example has had profound effects on the community at large, as well as lasting impacts on the lives of countless individuals. He will be greatly missed.
For more information about Free at Last or to make a memorial contribution, visit them online at https//www.freeatlast.org/.