Making Good From Tragedy

Pamela Accetta Smith
(847) 205-5660 ext. 4069
Tragedy is no stranger in today’s world. But good inevitably seems to come from it. Something gets stirred in us when tragedy strikes — to make more of ourselves and the world around us.
Funny how that works.
I stumbled upon an article in The Dallas Morning News about Schepps Dairy and its inspiring crime-fighting mission, and it drove home this point even more for me.
The program, which has offered more than $1 million to tipsters for their help in solving violent crimes, started with a Dallas murder in 1973 but grew quickly to include crimes in Houston and San Antonio.
It began with the murder of a Schepps Food Mart employee during a robbery. After officers were unable to develop substantial leads in the case, the owner of Schepps Dairy had the idea to offer a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those responsible for killing his employee.
In fact, he personally took a call from an informant who indicated he knew the identity of the suspects. Crucial to establishing credibility of the informant was information he gave regarding a roll of quarters taken in the robbery; the information had not been publicly disclosed and could have been known only to the suspects or individuals close to the suspect.
Information was forwarded to police and the case was rapidly cleared by the arrest of the suspects.
After its initial success, the dairy expanded the reward program, making funds available to police agencies throughout the Dallas area and Houston. To date, more than $1 million in rewards has been posted and $250,000 has been paid. Additionally, the dairy has spent significant sums in advertising specific rewards to the community.
In the past three years, Schepps parent company — Dallas-based Dean Foods — has expanded the program to other cities. The programs are sponsored by Dean’s dairy subsidiaries in each area.
Most recently, Schepps posted a $10,000 reward in connection with the January 14 robbery and slaying of two women in an Oak Cliff beauty salon; a third victim was stabbed and remains in critical condition.
Schepps will pay $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and grand-jury indictment of the person or persons responsible. The reward will remain in force for three months.
Everyone has the capability to give something back to the community and world in which they live. I once wrote a column in DF about social responsibility after a very inspiring visit to Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc.; its true commitment to giving to the communities in which it serves really struck a chord in me.
Schepps Dairy is another company that deserves recognition for its social consciousness. Schepps says the tipster program does not help sell more milk, but because the community has been so good to the dairy, it wanted to give something back.
To a great extent, all businesses have a responsibility to give something back to the communities around them, a responsibility not to be passive, but an active and responsible citizen.
Schepps is no exception.  
For more information about the tipster program, contact Ed Spencer at Dean Foods, (214) 721-1410. Anyone with information regarding the January 14 incident is asked to call the Dallas Police Department at (214) 671-3661.