Creating a Strong City after an almost fatal attack
April 21, 2017
There are times when a very bad situation actually turns out to provide a "golden opportunity" to bring about change. Such is the case with Peter Gold, who started a nonprofit foundation called Strong City, a 501(c)(3) that supports organizations that empower underserved youth.
It was only 16 months ago that Gold-who's parents live in Longwood -was fighting for his life after being shot by a man who was abducting a woman. Just recently, that horrific shooting was brought to the American peoples' attention again as Gold sat with Matt Lauer on the Today Show and viewed, for the first time, the surveillance video of the shooting in the Lower Garden District in New Orleans.
"I remember being right there and looking at this guy in the face as he held his gun to me and he told me at point blank, 'I'm going to kill you' and he shot me in the stomach and I fell to the ground," Gold told Lauer.
Just as shocking was the fact that Gold was on his cell phone talking to his parents, Dr. Robert and Gail Gold of Longwood, as he came to the woman's aid and ended up shot in the stomach. Miraculously, the assailant, later identified as Eric Cain, tried to shoot the fallen Gold in the head, execution-style but his gun jammed. As people began to run to the scene, Cain took off in his car but was later captured.
What did his parents do as they heard what was happening? "They kept me calm and waited for the ambulance to come," he says. "It came right away. When I woke up two days later, I was in the hospital. My entire group of family and friends was there," he told People magazine.
Calling his recovery an "incredible miracle," he told Lauer on Today, "I'm just very lucky and fortunate to be able to come out of that alive. I think about that day every single day of my life."
All of that is the "back story" to what has been created as a result of the attack.
Gold went on to graduate from Tulane and is now finishing an orthopedic surgery residency in New York. The experience did not leave him bitter or wanting to seek any kind of revenge. It did, however, create a lot of questions. Gold, who was known to be a "selfless" person, always engaged, involved with his peers and willing to try to help someone, could not understand what could have happened in someone's life that would cause them to create such violence with such ease, without even thinking about it.
With that thought, he-along with Adam Beal, Alex Brands, Sarah Bobker,M.D., Caroline Cunningham M.D., Nick Curran, Matthew Deitch, Mark Jones M.D., and Joshua Kogel CPA-created Strong City.
The first city to benefit from the foundation is New Orleans because statistics show that 34 percent of children live in poverty; 24 percent victims of homicide are aged 18-24; and 50 percent of convicted murderers are younger than 23.
A statement on the Strong City website (www.mystrongcity.org) reads: "We believe that the future of our cities depends on our youth. That support and guidance are rights, not luxuries. And that every city can be a Strong City."
One of the organizations that have partnered with Strong City is YEP. The Youth Empowerment Project guides young people through community-based education, mentoring and employment readiness programs to help them develop their skills and strengthen their ties to family and community.
"By partnering with organizations on the ground, we're creating new channels for people to connect to their community and empower change."
Gold firmly believes that people's time, money and professional expertise can give children a future they never dreamed possible.
For those who would like to become a "citizen of Strong City" and join a network of people all across the country working to build strong communities, one city at a time, donations can be made at http://www.mystrongcity.org
One-hundred percent of all donations go into the hands of Strong City's community partners.