Dave has experienced a truly extraordinary life. As a child, he endured the horrors of child abuse which included physical torture, mental cruelty, and near starvation. Dave was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother: a mother who played tortuous games–games that left him Dave nearly dead. With only his willpower to survive, He learned how to play his Mother’s sinister games in order to survive because she no longer considered Dave a son but a slave, and no longer a boy but an “It.”
Upon Dave’s rescue, he was identified as one of the most severely abused children in California’s history. At age 12, Dave’s teachers risked their careers to notify the authorities and saved his life. Once he entered the foster care system, Dave fights for a stable setting, but found himself moving in out of five different homes, while continuing the fight to cope with his past. Throughout his journey, social service personnel, educators, counselors, and foster parents give their all to ensure Dave’s well-being and protection from his vindictive mother, who, at one point, wishes to have Dave committed to a mental institution.
Once he left the foster care system at age 18, Dave enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. As a young adult Dave was determined to better himself–no matter what the odds.
As a member of the armed forces, Dave was hand-picked to midair refuel the highly secretive SR-71 Blackbird and the F-117 Stealth Fighter, which played a major role in Operations Just Cause, Desert Shield, and Desert Storm.
Some of Dave’s distinctive accomplishments have been recognized through a number of awards, as well as personal commendations from Presidents Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. In 1990, he was the recipient of the J.C. Penney Golden Rule Award, making him the California Volunteer of the Year. In 1993, Dave was honored as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans. He joins a distinguished group of alumni which includes: John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Anne Bancroft, Orson Welles, Walt Disney, and Nelson Rockefeller. In 1994, Dave was the only American to be honored as one of The Outstanding Young Persons of the World. He also carried the coveted Centennial flame for the 1996 Olympics.
Dave’s first book, A Child Called “It,” was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. It tells his story as a young child. Dave is one of the only authors to have three books simultaneously on the New York Times Best Sellers List and the first author to have two books simultaneously on this list in trade paperback. All three books are highly acclaimed throughout the world. Dave’s incredible life’s story was featured on The Montel Williams Show, Sally Jesse, and Barbara Walter’s The View.
Dave’s unique and intriguing outlook on life, coupled with his “Robin Williams” like wit and sense of humor entertain and encourage men and women to overcome any obstacle while living life to its fullest. Dave is a living testament of resilience, faith in humanity, and personal responsibility. This is what makes him one of the most exceptional and unequaled entities of today. As an author, educator, and consultant, Dave has dedicated his life helping others . . . to help themselves.