Sonny, and Red, were FIRED by Vernon Presley and given a nominal amount of money. Vernon told them they were fired because of cutbacks and the lawsuits. Among my collection I have copies of ALL of the lawsuits filed against Elvis, by fans who claimed they were injured by Elvis' bodyguards, and all of the exhibits/photos/et c. with 99.9% of the claims being unsubstanciated but real nonetheless. They felt hurt, anger, and everything else that is humanly imaginable. They wanted to hear from Elvis and, as had happened so much in the past, wanted to know if they were going to be "rehired ". The response they got was...silence. They also WORRIED/CARED about Elvis and his increasing health (mental, physcial, emotional, etc.) issues. They truly feared he would die and they saw him deteriorate firsthand
No one knows the "heart" of another. No one knows the true "intent" of another. What we do know is that Sonny West, his family, his loved ones, Red West, and his family and loved ones have SUFFERED and enough is enough. These men, who were strong and physcially gifted and studied martial arts, were brought to TEARS countless times as they lost their....friend on August 16, 1977. They never got a chance to "say their piece" to Elvis personally. Like all of us they have to live with their actions and regrets. BUT, for anyone to spew hatred against Sonny West does a dis-service to Elvis, Elvis Fans, and most of all to Sonny and his loved ones. Sonny West is a priceless asset to the Elvis Presley Community and thus has EARNED respect and appreciation. God chose to give life to Elvis Presley on January 8, 1935 and to take him from this Earth on August 16, 1977. I, and Elvis esposed as much, believe in forgiveness and a mans' opportunity to redeem himself and to be FORGIVEN WITH GRACE.
I'll put my Elvis knowledge, and collection, up against anyone and "it ain't bragging if it is a fact". Even after these (approximately) SIX DECADES of owning/collecting everything/anythin g of Elvis' I don't for one minute think I "knew" Elvis 1/100000th as much as Sonny West or Red West did. In these past years (sadly) we have lost Charlie Hodge, Vernon, Dodger, Lamar Fike, Myrna, and none of us are getting any younger. Sonny West, and Red West, deserve to have their role in "Elvis What Happened" debated. That does not mean that their role in that book diminished what Elvis gave to them; his hopes, his dreams, his time, his prayers, his love, his cares, his employment, and most of all...his heart. Sonny West is a good man who I respect, appreciate, admire, and wish nothing but the best for. It is HIGH TIME that more Elvis Fans Worldwide did the same...while there is still time. Take care and may God bless you. Jeff Schrembs www.ElvisCollector .info