Lamenting a return to that mind-numbing morning San Francisco commute? Attempt one to Memphis.
Sure, that Memphis. The one in Tennessee. You realize, dwelling of the blues. It’s additionally the FedEx World Hub and for 22-plus years, André Lewis has pushed to the Oakland Airport, flown to Memphis, then took to the cockpit with locations from African to Australia, Europe, South America and in all places in-between, round, above and under.
Ah, however no extra. At the very least the Memphis half. After a two-month-long “grueling course of” coaching to fly the brand new 757 as captain, the Benicia resident and former Vallejoan can now name Oakland his dwelling base.
Extra time along with his spouse, Leah. Extra time, finally, with three daughters in faculty. And extra time along with his “different ardour” — inspiring younger folks by way of his closing-in-on-20 books by way of Literary Software, his personal nonprofit publishing firm.
With Oakland as Lewis’ new base, he would have been assigned extra journeys to Ontario, near the place his father lived in Rialto. Nonetheless, his father died Feb. 2 and, due to COVID-19, the funeral wasn’t till March 3 — and Lewis was in his first day of coaching.
“It was bittersweet,” he stated, including that midway by way of this system on March 26, his mother-in-law died.
“Loopy, loopy time,” Lewis stated, taking a breather Monday morning to speak about his profession and his motivation.
Principally, it’s all about children. Surviving his personal troublesome youth, Lewis hopes to encourage younger folks by way of his books — and since he believes in what he writes, he’ll give books away, convincing corporations to sponsor distributions at faculties, neighborhood facilities, church buildings and wherever Lewis can join with younger folks and their mother and father.
It began with “I Wish to Fly” in 2007 a few little one’s using in a crop duster, to his personal sharing of being a father, “A Daddy’s Dream,” to “Let’s STEAM Forward” to the revised “Making it Higher in Vallejo,” to the 2020 guide, “I Excited to Serve,” and lots of others.
Lewis, 53, covers all the pieces from anti-bullying to inspiring goals, childhood weight problems, gun violence, suicide prevention, and religion.
“My ardour is making an attempt to assist others,” he stated. “By being primarily based out of Oakland, I’ll have extra of a possibility to have extra time to feed my ardour.”
Lewis just lately completed two books for the Solano County Probation Dept. and he’s engaged on one other guide, hoping to assist educate younger folks and their mother and father about “monetary literacy.”
“I created all these books to offer each child a tangible object to recollect the message,” Lewis stated. “Going across the nation, I noticed the youngsters’s wants.”
Phrase unfold. Lewis did a guide on the request of a police chief in Wyoming on anti-bullying. Then he acquired requests for comparable custom-made books from Los Angeles and Las Vegas. And, finally, Vallejo. That was 2013.
Extra just lately, he met with visitors security folks in Elk Grove. They needed Lewis to do a guide on underage ingesting — and he created the “California Division of Alcoholic Beverage Management Youth Instructional Guide.”
“My entire objective is making an attempt to fill the necessity,” Lewis stated.
It’s not simply native, regional or nationwide. A couple of years in the past, Lewis donated copies of “I Wish to Fly” to children in Kenya by way of a person from California he simply occurred to satisfy within the elevate in Taiwan. The person was a part of Rotary, explaining the service group to Lewis.
“There was a stigma that Rotary was an ‘previous white man’s membership,’” Lewis stated.
He’s now president of the Benicia Rotary Membership and he labored out to donate his books to children in Tijuana, Mexico.
“The cool half is that for a few of these children, it was the primary guide they ever owned,” Lewis stated. “That gave me chills to understand how impactful the work I’m doing is in serving to others.”
Lewis has been recognized handy out free books to children in grocery shops, at public occasions, on the street. He’s mainly the Johnny Appleseed of inspiring books.
“I wish to lead by instance. It actually doesn’t take a lot,” Lewis stated.
One problem: “I wish to assist do away with this taboo about regulation enforcement,” stated Lewis, whose solely brother is an officer. “Each group will at all times have those that make main errors. Nonetheless, to unravel this drawback, we can not sit on the sidelines. We should have interaction every entity and let folks know what our wants are.”
Nearly proper there with handing out free books to children is talking to grown-ups. One engagement on the Oakland Head Begin program will at all times be remembered.
“I’m in a swimsuit and tie … and I’m in Oakland,” stated Lewis with a chuckle. “They’re me up and down like ‘Who is that this man?’ I opened the assembly with ‘You don’t know me. I don’t know you. However one factor now we have in frequent is that we’re fathers.’”
Lewis then requested these in attendance what they’d do if their daughters got here dwelling bodily abused. Then he requested, “What number of of you’ve got put your fingers on a big different, girlfriend, spouse or mom?”
“You might hear a pin drop,” Lewis stated. “I stated, ‘If you do this to your important different, youngsters’s mom ..’ and so forth, ‘you’ve set an instance that it’s OK to beat up hit somebody you like. And also you encourage your sons that that is how we talk with the opposite intercourse.’”
A person within the viewers approached Lewis after the speak and stated, “Hey man, that is the primary time I’ve the chance to open up. I can’t speak about stuff like this in my neighborhood. What you talked about at the moment, you bought to me. I have to make some modifications in my life.”
“We will make a distinction,” Lewis stated.
A couple of days in the past on the Reebok Outlet in Vacaville, Lewis launched himself to a mom, her father and her younger son and stated he needed to ship them a free guide.
Now not does he drive round with a trunkful of his books. The guess was it drove his spouse insane.
“That’s precisely it,” laughed Lewis.