Hey everyone, hope you take some time today to show your moms that you appreciate them for all that they've done for you. It's hard to fathom where we'd be without those special people who do so much for us as kids, like y'know, saving your promising basketball career. Just ask Caron Butler:
Richard Geller, 47, has been a member of the Racine Police Department for 24 years and last year he was honored with the department's award of excellence. The son of a Marine, Geller has spent practically all of his life in Racine. He considered attending law school at Western State University in California but instead chose a career in local law enforcement so that he "could give back to my community." Geller worked in the department's drug investigations unit during the mid-1990s, the most dangerous era in Racine's history, when it often had the highest per capita homicide rate in the state. "It was a time in the city's history that we're not sad to see in our rearview mirror," Racine deputy chief of police Art Howell said.
About 5 feet 10, slightly built, balding and with a salt-and-pepper mustache, Geller is far from a physically imposing man. But on that afternoon in January 1998, he had the power to play God with Butler's life.
Geller, by then the head of the department's investigations unit, had received a tip that there was drug activity in the garage of the home Butler shared with his mother and younger brother, Melvin Claybrook. He secured the search warrant and organized the raid. "To be honest, I had no idea who we'd find in the house," Geller said recently.
The identity of the person who put the crack cocaine in the garage is unclear, but Butler is adamant that it wasn't him. Geller knew of Butler's criminal past but was unaware that he was a promising athlete. He confronted Butler after finding the drugs, and Butler denied knowing anything about them. With his burgeoning basketball career possibly in jeopardy, he told Geller, "I don't need this now."
Since Butler was the only person at home during the raid, Geller could have arrested him by citing "constructive possession," which makes the person in a home liable for what is inside. If convicted, Butler could have received at least 10 years in prison, maybe more given his prior record, Geller said. "It would've been bad for me, period," Butler said.
Butler's mother arrived while the officers were deliberating what to do with him, shocked to find police in her home after a trip to get flu medicine and soup for her son. Geller recalls her pulling him aside and begging him: "I promise you, if you give Caron a chance on this, you will never look back. You will never have to worry about him."
If you've read the entire story (which is an absolute must if you haven't) you know that Geller gave Caron that chance and if you've watched any Wizards basketball for the last 3 years, you know that Caron has delivered on his mother's promise and rewarded the faith she had in him.
But as Caron's mom would probably tell you, what she did wasn't anything special. Any mother would do the same thing for their child. It might seem ordinary to her and other moms, but it's things just like that which make them special. That's why we're celebrating them today.