MALDEN, MO (KFVS) - Positive Brotherhood is an organization based out of Malden, Mo. that has seven members. It's those members that have led a positive change in Malden along with many other communities and people across the State of Missouri in the past several years.
Positive Brotherhood was just certified and declared an organization by the Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft last week. This organization has been in existence for nearly four years and members have visited hundreds of churches, schools, drug rehabilitation facilities, and variety of community events from Malden to Clinton, Mo and up to Cincinnati, OH to talk to people and share their story to leave a positive impact for everyone they can.
This organization started as the Positive Brotherhood President Greg Killebrew wanted to make a positive change with himself, as well as the community.
"The reason I wanted to start Positive Brotherhood is to spread the message; if I can do it, you can do it," Killebrew said. "I started the Positive Brotherhood to inform people about our community the things that we do sometimes holds onto our background. Nobody wants to look at you in a positive manner unless you're on a positive level. So in order to make a change, I needed to be on a positive level."
Killebrew has spent some time in a couple jail facilities and has taken the memory of his troubled past to educate others in the hope that they don't make the same mistakes as he did.
"I just got blessed by God to be able to do the things that I do and to be able to talk to different kids and go into the schools," Killebrew stated. "And I bring up my background; what I've done. There's no secret. It's public record. So maybe to help someone else who is suffering, someone else who is struggling. Maybe something I say can help them."
Killebrew made one of his first community impacts with the organization by bringing the community together to raise awareness about the violent crimes that were occurring in their city. He wanted them to stop. Years later, many tell us that there has been a change for the better as far as violent crimes are concerned.
"The little shootings, you're going to always have that in every community," Killebrew stated. "But here in Malden, it's gotten better. We are going to have the little shootings and all that, but now in Malden, we don't have all those big shootings that we used to have 2 to 3 years ago. Now more people are seeing that if you shoot somebody, you're going to jail."
We caught up with Debra Wilkerson about her thoughts on violence these past years in Malden. She has been on the Malden City Council Board for more than 20 years and said that this organization has stepped up to clean up this town.
"We want to tell them to continue to do what they do," Wilkerson said. "We are very supportive of these guys and we want them to know that anything that the city or the community, that if there is any help that we can do, we want to be a support to them."
Killebrew's vision was to help the community including the children and the elderly in any way with a positive outlook going forward. After experiencing both sides of violence, he feels this has to end as nobody should experience any violence scenarios, including murder.
"Nobody wins in those situations," Killebrew said. "You have a mother who has lost his son. He is being buried. Then you have another mother over here and a family that is saying, 'well my brother is going to jail. Maybe for the rest of his life.' I've been there. I've been in those shoes. I've been on both sides of those fences."
Larry Smith is the secretary of the Positive Brotherhood organization. He feels the same about the violence for years here and is helping see to it that Malden changes for the better. This includes better-looking neighborhoods with fewer eyesores.
Smith is a member of the Malden Housing Commission and the Malden Planning Zone Board. He helps make sure they do what they can personally to make Malden more desirable looking, even if they have to tear down the dilapidated homes with their bare hands.
"We want this kind of stuff taken out," Smith said about the dilapidated homes. "The rundown houses, crack houses, we want them gone. People run up in those houses, do crack and all that other stuff. Don't! We get a bad reputation for that. So we want to clean this up and that is what we are doing. We are cleaning this part of the community up."
They have met with the city on a number of occasions about these dilapidated properties and the city has let them tear down and clean up certain properties. Since their meetings, they have been able to see much change in the neighborhoods they live in. Roads have been resurfaced and dilapidated homes and properties have been demolished and cleaned up. They currently have been approved by the city to demolish and clean up 10 properties and have cleaned up 25 overall so far.
"They are making a great change in the City of Malden," Wilkerson stated. "They come to the city and ask us to better our community. To make it look better."
Overall, Killebrew said one of his greatest moments came together recently after seeing the certificate from the Secretary of State in declaring the Positive Brotherhood as an organization.
"Out of all the 300 and something speeches we did, the programs we did, and the people that have supported me," Killebrew said with a proud smile. "It's overwhelming to get that paper in the mail and look at it and say thank God. Thank God I am doing something right for once in my life!'
The members also use money from their own pockets to fund all the trips and events they do and are welcoming donations, as well as people that are interested in being part of or helping their organization to be able to provide more positivity in the communities.