IN MARCH 2015, we published a story about Jeffersonville Police Officer Justin Salisbury, who went above and beyond the call of duty to help Daniel White.
In May 2012, Daniel was assaulted while walking home. He was beat so badly, his hearing aid flew out of his ear, never to be found again. That night. Officer Salisbury was one of the officers who came to Daniel’s assistance. In late 2014, Daniel’s attacker was convicted. During the trial, the policeman learned Daniel, who is mostly deaf, had gone without his hearing aid since the assault and for two long years had been unable to get assistance to replace the much-needed device. Without the hearing aid, “it is horrible. I can’t hear anything at all,” Daniel said. “One ear is completely deaf … and the other is affected by nerve damage,” rendering him 93 percent deaf in his “working” ear.
So, Officer Salisbury sat down to write the story of “Hearing Daniel White” and opened up a Go Fund Me account. Online donations totaled more than $12,000. Additionally, Hanes Auto of Jeffersonville donated a moped, Conn Hearing of Jeffersonville donated a new hearing aid and Dr. Sana Aburob of Gentle Dental Care in Shelbyville, Ky., donated her services to Daniel, which was greatly needed.
“Life has gotten a whole lot better,” Daniel said at the time.
Back then, Officer Salisbury agreed. Five years prior, he’d almost walked away from his job as a police chief in a small town because anti-police bias was on the rise, his father and a friend had been stricken by cancer and another paralyzed and he was beyond burned out. Even though he and his family were much happier once he was hired as an officer in Jeffersonville, it wasn’t until encountering Daniel that Officer Salisbury found a renewed passion for his profession. “Daniel helped me to get that back,” he said.
Today, nearly a year and a half after we first published the story, all of us continue to be besieged by allegations of police brutality and accounts of intentional attacks on the very people who are paid to protect and serve our communities. It is nothing short of horrifying, and it often feels rather hopeless, too.
At least it can until you talk with someone like Officer Salisbury, whose own child recently pleaded with him to find another job, only to have his father gently explain that he was lucky to be “doing what the Lord has called me to do.”
So is our Southern Indiana community. We should be utterly grateful for Officer Salisbury and the hundreds of law enforcement officials and first responders who remain committed to all of us.
These days, despite the ugliness that continues to occur in our world, Officer Salisbury said he thinks of “Daniel often. An innocent victim, the vulnerable, and I truly know that there is good in the world and it is colorblind. We could use more people like Daniel White in it. I truly know he saved me.”
Daniel, clearly, feels the same. “What we need to be doing is hitting our knees and praying for a better tomorrow,” he recently posted on Facebook. “I am proud to say I stand behind my friends like Officer Salisbury who put on that uniform and go out to catch the bad guys not knowing what tomorrow brings.”
The Extol team stands behind Officer Salisbury and the many, many men and women who put on their uniforms each day with the desire to make our world a better place. May this issue remind you to look for the reasons to celebrate Southern Indiana and beyond.
Editor in Chief