Visual art, long the mainstay of the Westfield Art Association (WAA), comprises only one segment of the human creative endeavor which includes all the performing and literary arts. From this more inclusive perspective, the WAA will host ‘An Afternoon with Detective David “Baretta” Toma’ at its next meeting on Sunday, January 20.  David Toma will share, from a personal perspective that few can imagine, some of his many and varied interactions with the “greats” of the performing arts and entertainment world.

David Toma was drill instructor and former middleweight boxing champion of the United States Marine Corps. He was a Police Officer for 21 years – 17 of those years as a Detective in the Vice, Gambling and Narcotics Squad – in one of the busiest cities in the world, Newark, New Jersey. His arrest record is unmatched, numbering in the thousands, with an unheard of 98% conviction rate. Toma has suffered injuries of every type imaginable, but has never shot anyone, nor even fired his gun at anyone. Over 50 years ago, he was the innovator of using disguises in his police work, a practice which has been copied by other law enforcement professionals and which has been the basis for many television shows.

Toma is the only person alive to ever have two television series based on his life; “Toma” and “Baretta”. He has also written six bestseller books; the latest, “Unforgettable – The Life and Legend of David Toma” has just been completed. A movie screenplay about his fascinating life called “Toma – The Man, The Mission, The Message” has also just been completed. These books, as well as his videos are used internationally by schools, hospitals, jails, treatment centers, doctors, counselors and corporations worldwide.

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Toma has received numerous honorary degrees and humanitarian awards, including both the prestigious “Four Chaplains Legion of Honor Bronze Medallion”, whose other honorees include other notables including four US presidents, as well as the Olympic Medal he received from the government of Montréal, Canada, during the 1976 Canadian Summer Olympic Games, recognizing his work counseling Canadian youth and adults. Features in newspapers and magazines include Newsweek, Time, Life, and the London Daily Mail. Having given thousands of lectures to millions kids and parents across a 50 year timeframe, he has been referred to as “the greatest motivational speaker in America”.

As his 80th birthday approaches, against ever-mounting opposition, David Toma continues his humanitarian efforts indefatigably at a pace that would wither many who are decades younger, never refusing any of the numerous calls for help, no matter the time of day or night.

The meeting will be held from 1:00 – 4:00 PM on Sunday, January 20, 2013 at the Community Room of the Westfield Municipal Building, 425 East Broad Street, Westfield, NJ. The Community Room is handicapped-accessible. Admission is free and the presentation is open to the public.

You will be glad to have met David Toma. Reserve the date.  You don’t want to miss this opportunity.

In the event of severe inclement weather, notice of cancellation of the meeting will be posted on the WAA website [see elsewhere in this newsletter] as early as possible on the morning of the day of the scheduled meeting.