“The universe is so vast and ageless that the life of one man can only be measured by the size of his sacrifice.” ~ V.A. Rosewarne
Randi Elrad was a simple girl from Ohio. John A. Pastore was a simple boy from south Florida. Randi left her parent’s house at almost 18 years old to come to Florida and destiny put them together in the single path of Miami Day Jr. College. While in school Randi became member of the sister sorority of the fraternity which Johnny – how he is usually called – belonged. Not too much time passed when they started dating and became a solid couple. Randi decided to continue her studies and moved to Gainesville where she attended University of Florida. In the meantime Johnny became a jockey and started running horses all around United States; from New Jersey to Chicago to Miami. One day Johnny decided that his time on the tracks was over and that it was time for him to also continue his studies. He arrived in front of Randi’s door and surprised her with the news. They became a team and each other was the other one’s best cheerleader. They studied full time during the day and worked full time as waitresses during the night.
Randi attained a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in special education and began working as a school teacher 1974. Johnny attained a microbiologist research degree and won the National Research Student Award of United States in 1975 for his research in rheumatoid arthritis. He wanted to go to Medical School but instead got a full time job as researcher. They were both making less money in a week than what they used to make as waitresses in two nights. And because of that situation they decided to move into a smaller house – a rented duplex across the street from Sunland Training Center which at the moment was a really bad neighborhood – and have a roommate in order to be able to afford rent. The problem was that the rate of criminality in Gainesville was somewhat high at the time and Johnny worked at the research lab in the evenings, between 2:00 am and 4:00 am, while Randi stayed at the house, alone and afraid.
Because they were not happy with the situation of Randi having to stay alone in the house for extended period of times, and even worst, at nights, they engaged in a mission to do something that could help prevent, or at least reduce, crime in Gainesville. In their search they found a product that was supposedly intended to make a house more secure. Because as Ernest Renan once wrote, “[n]o idea can succeed except at the expense of sacrifice,” they used the last money they had left to buy the product and just like that they began their “small company” – Crime Prevention – from the kitchen table of their rented duplex. In order to find costumers Randi decided to take the money Johnny had saved apart for his Medical School application to pay a newspaper to put an ad of the product in it. Jonny was not too happy about what happened with the money he had saved but when he saw that people were starting to call to get the product he got as excited as Randi did. But the peace and happiness did not last for too long. Once they made the first order of the product for their new customers, Randi and Johnny discovered that the product they were intending to sell was not authorized for selling in the state of Florida. They have a company, with customers, but no product to sale. However, they did not stay with their arms crossed.
Once in the situation of having a company, with customers, but no product to sale, they decided to rip apart their own product to see if they could find who the manufacturer was. They finally discovered that the manufacturer of the product was situated in Washington D.C. They decided to take the situation in their hands and drove from Gainesville to Washington D.C. to find a solution that could save their company. They finally became the exclusive distributors of the product in the state of Florida and almost at the same time they received a phone call of a person that was interested in becoming an installer for the company. This person closed his own alarm company in North Carolina and in 1975 took his entire family and moved to Gainesville to finish his studies in computer systems. He offered Randi and Johnny to teach them all what he knew about the business of alarm systems in exchange of been paid as an installer and an agreement was made between them. He did the installations at nights and on the weekends and during the day on weekdays, with Randi and Johnny’s help, he and his wife were able to go school and finish their bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degree. He is now a prominent computer systems analyst.
The company kept growing, and so did the problems. Sometime after the company formally initiated, Randi and Johnny entered into a partnership with Johnny’s family and bought an apartment complex with 6 units. They moved into one of the units and continue running their company, again, from their kitchen table. In 1980 Randi got pregnant with her oldest daughter Jorgia McAfee. When she was about to give birth she and Johnny decided that it was time to buy a new house. Because they have assets but no liquid they put their unit on the seller’s name as down payment and the seller agreed to give them the key of the house as long as they took care of the mortgage payments. They finally moved into their new home and were able to continue running the company from there for a couple of years until almost every neighbor started complaining about them having the company’s truck parked in front of the house all the time.
They knew it was time to get an office for the company; and so they did. Crime Prevention had its first office at 3610 NW 97th Blvd. Gainesville, FL. Randi and Johnny worked out of that building until 2005 when they bought a new building – the current office – on SW 34th Street, Gainesville, FL. In 1982 Randi got pregnant with her youngest daughter Jessica Pastore and decided to go back to teaching. Although Randi and Johnny were partners and owned the company in equal parts the situation was too stressful and the bigger the company was getting the bigger the hardship imposed on their marriage relationship. They divorced in 1984 and Randi moved back to Ohio. For approximately 6 years, although they remained good friends, they have nothing to do – sentimentally – with each other. After the waters got calmer they reunited in 1991 and because they learned not to, completely, mix business and family affairs, instead of both been the owners of their company, Randi decided that she wanted to be in charge only of the sales department. They still together today, and like their company, their love is getting bigger and their marriage stronger every day.
The writer Clark H. Minor once wrote that “[n]o sacrifice short of individual liberty, individual self-respect, and individual enterprise is too great a price to pay for permanent peace.” Crime Prevention, in its promotion of peace, is an example of how much can be done when unselfish sacrifices are made for the benefit of others. Randi and Johnny are also an example of what a solid marriage and a united family can do for its community, and themselves, with just hope and very little, or almost nothing, when they believe in each other and – more importantly – in the love each one has for each other.
Crime Prevention is run today by Randi and Johnny with the help of their daughters Jessica Pastore and Jorgia McAfee and their son-in-law Bobby McAfee. It is the 82nd alarm company in the United States and it is a successful locally owned and operated company with approximately 60 employees. In 2005 Crime Prevention not only got a new office on 34th Street but it also entered into the business of home entertainment systems becoming a one-stop-shop with everything for builders working in the low voltage industry. Crime Prevention held the 52nd position on the list of top 100 United States Custom Home Entertainment Companies in 2010 and in 2011 the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce awarded the company the Business of the Year Award in the Overall Large Business category at their awards luncheon.
“The men and women who have the right ideals… are those who have the courage to strive for the happiness which comes only with labor and effort and self-sacrifice, and those whose joy in life springs in part from power of work and sense of duty.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt