By: Erika F. Washington
Each of us possesses an exquisite, extraordinary gift, although not everyone chooses to or understands how to use it. However, in his short 47 years of life, David Wallace Jr. somehow was able to walk down an authentic path embracing every calling God placed upon him.
“David only lived 47 years but, his accomplishments and the impact he made on thousands of lives is a greater accomplishment than some of those who lived 74 years…” said his mother, Joyce Wallace
Last Thursday, on May 10, 2012 David Wallace succumbed to both liver and kidney failure at the age of 47. Most are just getting started, trying to propel their way to success at that age but Wallace had a long list of accomplishments including candidate in the 2012 Nevada senate race for district 4.
His resume is undeniably impressive: 22 years with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department as a Youth Diversion Specialist; a Program Director in the Office of Juvenile Justice; a Juvenile Probation Supervisor in the Department of Juvenile Justice Services; the Southern District Unit Manager for the Nevada Youth Parole Bureau, as well as a volunteer as the Coordinating Director of the Southern Nevada Gang Task Force.
But like anyone else, he was more than a resume and a list of achievements. He was the proud father of four: Crystal, Jocelyn, Leilani and David. He was a son, a brother, a writer, a dreamer and a friend.
This is a tribute to a person who mattered. Not a celebrity, but someone out in the community doing the hard work.
“My dad was my best friend,” says his second eldest daughter Jocelyn Wallace.
His entire life was dedicated to serving and protecting the people of Las Vegas, especially the youth. “He wanted to be remembered as an effective leader that was willing to create what was needed instead of waiting for someone else to create it,” says his mother.
As a former school teacher, Joyce realized that her son was a leader from the time he was about four years old. She recalled many events where her son displayed his natural leadership skills. Those skills along with a precocious mind sometimes got him in trouble at school. Questioning authority and challenging the status quo helped him climb the ladder to become the unit manager of the Youth Parole Bureau for the Nevada Division of Child and Family Services.
The (DCFS) in Carson City released the following statement upon the news of his death: “With great sadness we inform all of you of the unexpected passing of David Wallace, Jr., David was employed with the state from 1981 to 1994, from 1998 to 1999 and from 2004 to present…David believed that his community deserved a courageous leader and was committed to taking care of this cause. David had a passion for wanting to aggressively address issues related to youth and family services and believed that the greatest resource was that of people, unified and committed across party lines, demographics and socio-economic status collaboratively uniting to achieve sustainability for a shared vision of wellbeing. DCFS along with the staff within the Youth Parole Bureau is experiencing a terrible loss, so please do what you can to support his colleagues and his family. David was known for frequently saying he was ‘keeping the faith, fighting the good fight.’ David Wallace, Jr. will be deeply missed.”
Wallace, a decorated veteran of both Desert Shield and Desert Storm served four years as an Air Force Medic Specialist and as a Nevada State Forensic Specialist for over 20 years.
Liver and kidney failure ultimately stopped him from furthering his goals but his mother believes he knew he didn’t have as long as others here on earth. “He spent his life wanting to save the youth–that was the core of him, says his mother, I think of him as a miniature Martin Luther King Jr.”
Wallace started his radio career as the gospel announcer at KCEP radio station in 2000, as the “Preacher Man” while also furthering his talents to host and/or serve as MC for various talent show and concerts around Las Vegas.
Carolyn ‘CJ’ Bevill, operations manager at KCEP 88.1 worked with Wallace from the time he began at the station.
“He never had anything bad to say about anyone…always chipper and upbeat. He brought lots of personality to the station.”
The licensed ordained minister was also known in the community as a fighter for the youth. Wallace brought God-given passion and a sense of integrity to everything he did.
Wallace had time to slip creative works in between his various regular jobs and his volunteer work in the community. He loved to write inspirational quotes and poems reflected Jocelyn. One of his favorite quotes comes from Norman Vincent Peele: “You yourself must set the flame to the torch you have brought.”
“There is nothing that I could’ve done for him that I didn’t do. There is nothing I wish I would have said to him that I didn’t say…I would do it over and over again. We had a wonderful life together and I enjoyed being his mother.