Since 1978, Curtis Sliwa has been fighting crime with “The Team” safety patrol. He and his buddy, Don Chin began to clean up crime on one of New York City’s toughest subway lines, the #4 train. This was not a job for two, but a job for 13 and so the group became the “Magnificent 13.”
The Magnificent 13 went from 13 members to hundreds in a matter of months. Thus, it was time to change the name. They went into subways as a group of magnificent youth and they emerged onto the streets as the Guardian Angels Safety Patrol.
Not only did the Guardian Angels have to deal with the criminals and drug dealers but they also had their challenges with the police and government officials. The Guardian Angels, many young citizens, have taken on the major issues of crime and violence at a completely volunteer level. During the group’s beginning, a safety patrol of young people was unheard of and even ridiculed. Overwhelming public support, coupled with Sliwa, was how the Guardian Angels spread all over the nation.
Sliwa’s opinions are heard and shared by millions of his WABC radio-talk-show-listeners. As he has matured so has have the Guardian Angels and their programs – from the inner-city subways to cyberspace and after-school programs for troubled and ungrounded teens.
Sliwa created one of the first U.S. “recycling centers,” essentially by himself, when he was 14 years old. Known as the teenage “neighborhood junk collector,” he collected empty cans, glass bottles, newspapers and scrap pieces of metal, storing them in his basement after having prepared them for recycling. Once a month a tractor-trailer truck would collect his storage drums filled with these items and Sliwa used the money he collected for neighborhood projects to benefit children in the community.
Additionally, he saved a family from a burning building at the age of 15 and was named The Daily News “newspaper boy of the year” for his heroism. At 16, Sliwa was invited to the White House to meet President Nixon, as a result of his community projects.