NPM: Why do we need this foundation? David: We’re living in a society of rampant drug abuse. 78 people die each day from pre- scription drug abuse and 15 million are af- fected by it every year. 9% of the teen deaths in America are from prescription drug abuse. I grew up in a rock and roll society.My whole life was growing up with Elvis Presley in the late ‘60s and ‘70s, touring with him and be- ing around rock and roll bands. We lost El- vis, which was a tragedy. We lost Michael Jackson, which was another tragedy, almost a carbon copy of Elvis’s death: prescription medication. Most recently, we lost Prince. I thought to myself, two kings and a prince: What can we learn from these tragic deaths? The Foundation will draw attention to the issue and raise awareness about prescription drug abuse, sustaining the level of conscious- ness about it, and it will support foundations that provide treatment for drug abuse. This is a serious issue that is plaguing America and the world. It’s a way to draw people to the problem through the celebrity of El- vis Presley. I created the Foundation as an
awareness support for people to wake up and fight back so that we can save a lot of lives. NPM: Why are you called to this? David: I will never forget the loss, the pain, the suffering from the death of a guy who had picked me up seventeen years before and said, “Welcome to my family.” Addiction was taking control of my life, too, and I was blessed to overcome it. Being related to Elvis Presley opened the door, and then God gave me the gift of communication to be able to share it with authority, passion, and purpose, motivated by the fact that I could help save a life. When I cradled Elvis in my arms the day he died, I, along with others, had a wake- up call. His death was my resurrection. His passing was my wake-up call, and I woke up from addiction. I had my faith and was able to overcome what killed him. I don’t talk about Elvis Presley unless I can communicate a positive message. The positive message, unfortunately, lies in the tragedy of his death. NPM: You’ve said a few times Elvis was a giver. He wrote checks to support people. That’s an important part of this legacy, isn’t it?
David: I was brought up with a giver. Elvis Presley was the king of rock and roll. He did 33 movies. He sold countless records. He is the undisputed king of rock and roll, and probably the most popular rock icon ever. But his thing was giving. If you see somebody walking down the street, you might give him a buck, but Elvis would give him a job, buy him a car, and put his kid in college. Elvis would go to St. Jude’s Hospital and give out teddy bears and perform concerts for the kids, writing checks to them all the time. Elvis had the gift of music, of melody in his heart. But his main gift was giving. Elvis always said, “The main reason I have anything is to give it.” In the spirit of giving, this is my way to honor him from that perspective. What I’ve learned from him, I want to share with other people. When I’m dead and gone, the news will talk about the youngest stepbrother of Elvis Presley. I’d rather it say that the youngest stepbrother of Elvis Presley leaves the legacy of the My Brother Elvis Foundation to reach and help prescription drug abusers throughout the United States and the world. It’s a legacy to leave behind for my children, and long after my children’s children are gone. We are giving to people who can’t help themselves, to others who are lost in a needle, a bottle, a pill, or the abuse of self-prescribed medication. NPM: What is your primary leadership fo- cus in making sure the Foundation follows your vision? David: I believe every great thing is started with a vision. Once you get a vision given by God, it’s going to happen. I am the visionary, seeing what it can and will do. I am also the spokesperson driven by passion and purpose to make sure it does happen. By building a team around me, my strategic team, my board of directors, my lawyers, everybody involved has a part that makes this the reality. I am the spokesperson. I am not an expert in addiction, but we are putting the pieces together. Delegation is key. Too many people who fail have egos that suppress their results. They need to have an ego for success instead of an ego of success. They need to embrace the reality that they have a part, which they then need to take and turn into that reality. They delegate the other portions of that to individuals. They are transparent. They are authentic. Nobody knows everything, but
SynerVision Leadership .org I 23
Made with FlippingBook flipbook maker