2021 MADDvocate

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December 2021 Cover

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ALEX OTTE MADD’S YOUNGEST NATIONAL PRESIDENT MAKING STRIDES TO ELIMINATE DRUNK AND DRUGGED DRIVING T he last year, and the first half of my term as National President, has been one that will be written about in history! MADD’s victims, survivors, volunteers and supporters came together to achieve something that I thought would never happen in my lifetime.

As I traveled across the country in the second half of the year to meet so many victims, survivors and families who have been impacted by this 100% preventable crime, I am in awe. I am amazed and indebted to all of you, who have been willing to show up, on the good days and the bad, to turn your passion into purpose and to fight for a world in which our stories won’t become anyone else’s story. Thank you. Thank you to all of the MADD staff for your dedication to this organization and this mission. We know that despite the constraints of the pandemic, drunk and drugged driving did not stop, but only increased and it felt as though our work was never done. Regardless of your role within the organization, you are an integral part of helping us reach a day with No More Victims. To our friends and those who have been impacted by drunk and drugged driving, my heart is with you. I want to take this opportunity to remind you that you are not alone, and MADD is here to support you. It has been my true honor and pleasure to meet so many of you, virtually or in person, over the last year, to hear your stories and get to know your loved ones through you, and to carry them in my heart as we fight for a day when there will truly be NO MORE VICTIMS®.

My first year as President started out slow, as the world was still grappling with how things should look during the COVID-19 pandemic, and much of what I participated in was done virtually. I was continually impressed by the way our organization was able to pivot: to find ways to come together and support one another and those we serve, to advocate for legislation across the country, and even testify in support of many bills in the states, albeit over Zoom and in the form of letters and phone calls. Our organization proved our commitment to serving victims and their families, and to bringing a final end to the devastation of drinking and driving. Over the past year, our volunteers came together to create a ‘war room’ to achieve what many thought would be too difficult of a fight. I always said that I would fight for the rest of my life to see a day when there would be no more victims of drunk and drugged driving, but I didn’t believe that it would come in my lifetime. Now, because of the impaired driving technology provision in the Infrastructure Bill signed into law November 15, and because of each of you, I do. Thank you.

I always said that I would fight for the rest of my life to see a day when there would be no more victims of drunk and drugged driving

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LEAN ON ME...FOR CHANGE the crime that changed their lives forever. Like so many who are part of the MADD family do, they courageously shared their stories of heartbreak and loss, knowing that their stories have the power to save lives. This is MADD’s war room - a group of victims and

F our decades of service to victims and commitment to eliminating drunk driving in America led us to this monumental moment. On November 15, 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law the most significant piece of legislation in MADD’s history in terms of lives saved and injuries that will be prevented. This is the beginning of the end of drunk driving. The new law gives the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) up to three years to establish a standard for advanced, passive technology that will prevent a drunk driver from operating a vehicle. Within three years after that, beginning as soon as 2026, new cars will come equipped with the technology. Adding technology to cars that can detect impairment and stop a driver from operating a vehicle could save 9,400 lives a year, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Victims and survivors of impaired driving made this happen. Dozens of them came together as part of their healing journey, driven to advocate fiercely for an end to

survivors, led by MADD National President Alex Otte and Chief Government Affairs Officer Stephanie Manning, who came together in early 2021 devoted to passing this law. Past MADD National Presidents joined, lending their expertise and support while lamenting that drunk driving wasn’t solved years ago despite all their hard work. The idea of technology in all new cars was not new to MADD or many of the war room team. MADD began pushing for advanced vehicle technology in 2006. Timelines and goals for implementation of drunk driving prevention systems were set and then slipped away. Progress was stalled. Then on January 6, 2019, a wrong-way drunk driver crashed head on into an SUV on Kentucky’s I-75 in

The ‘war room’ of dozens of victims and survivors, along with staff, celebrate the historic moment when the bill was signed. Senator Luján, top right, makes his second special appearance.

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“Being a part of the war room effort to get this historic legislation passed is unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life. We were joined by nearly 100 victims/survivors of drunk driving from all corners of the U.S., who met and strategized weekly for a year, and then channeled their individual devastation toward implementing real and meaningful change. The groundswell we experienced around this movement, and the history that has been made, remains surreal. Thousands of lives will be saved, and it's because of some incredible folks who worked, day in and day out, to make sure we have 'No More Victims®.' They are what make this achievement so extraordinary.” - Rana Abbas Taylor, whose 38-year-old sister Rima, 42-year-old brother-in-law Issam, 13-year-old nephew Ali, and nieces 12-year-old Isabella and 7-year-old Giselle were killed by a drunk driver on January 6, 2019. “As anyone who has tragically lost a loved one will tell you, many days are very dark. But our weekly calls with so many survivors and victims helped me to see the light again. To feel hope that we can help make meaningful change. I feel blessed to have been invited to join with this amazing group of warriors. It is in fact the silver lining to not having in-person events since I would never have been able to connect with someone from Hawaii or Michigan or New Mexico. It was those connections that help propel us forward to the biggest victory in MADDs 41-year history.” - Alisa McMorris, whose 12-year-old son Andrew died from injuries caused by a drunk driver on October 1, 2018. “For me, being a part of the ‘War Room’ group just solidified the fact that although these horrific avoidable tragedies have crushed our lives forever, together we have found a meaningful purpose to advocate for our loved ones. This purpose has turned into triumph for years and years to come and will affect generation after generation.” – Jody Miller, whose 21-year-old daughter Heather died on March 31, 2008 from injuries caused by a drunk driver.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell at a HALT Act press conference

Rana Abbas Taylor holding a photo of her sister Rima, brother-in-law Issam, nephewAli, and nieces Isabella andGiselle

Jody Miller celebrates the new law in honor of her daughter, Heather

Heather Miller, daughter of Jody Miller

Alisa McMorris holding a photo of her son, Andrew McMorris on the day the bill was signed into law

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“I joined MADD within weeks of my daughter Patty’s death with the thought I was going to stop drunk driving, sadly over 400,000 have died and millions injured by drunk driving since I began my activism in MADD. I fought for over 30 years as part of MADD’s most noted history....MADD Chapters in all 50 states, passage of Zero Tolerance for Underage Drinking and lowering the BAC to .08. I honestly thought that this equation would end drunk driving, however, I still saw death and injury on our roadways as the result of drunk driving. Our greatest accomplishment was the passage of .08 and it took eight years to pass. When I was informed there was something MADD could do that would literally end drunk driving, though excited, I could only think, ‘I don’t think I have eight years of fight left in me! I remember our first Zoom call and seeing all of those faces of relatively new victims. We became friends through our tragedy and my heart ached every time I heard a new victim’s story. I saw the fire in each of them seeking change and believing this incredible group of warriors would succeed. They were fearless and would talk to any of our elected officials to convince them that the RIDE and HALT ACTS needed their support. My pessimistic side kept kicking in because I still had the ‘scars’ from advocating for .08, but the war room’s enthusiasm was contagious and made me want to do all I could to help convince all of those I needed to that this legislation would end drunk driving. I am still in awe over Alex, Ken and Rana who were the faces of MADD, but took each one of us with them on their journey as we supported them in everything they did. What an incredible moment it was, especially for those of us who have been a part of MADD for 20-plus years, to see the signing of the bill containing the lifesaving measures. Just as MADD had in the past, we took them by surprise with our group of warriors and once again proved that given the goal of saving lives there is nothing a group of MADD Victims cannot accomplish. Together we will make a difference! MADD continues to be a group of innovative activists and I could not be more proud of this team.” - Karolyn Nunnallee, MADD National President of MADD from 1998-1999. Her 10-year-old daughter Patty died on May 14, 1988 in the Carrollton, KY bus crash, the deadliest drunk driving crash in U.S. history. “Being a part of the war room and such an amazing group helped me get through many dark days. Nothing in the world can change what happened to any of us, nothing will bring back our loved ones. This group, this effort gave me a purpose. Working together and knowing we can end impaired driving and prevent other families from experiencing this tragedy has been an honor. The HALT Act honors Austin and ALL victims and I am so grateful to be a part of it.” - Sheila Lockwood, whose 23-year-old son Austin was killed by a drunk driver on June 10, 2018.

Karolyn Nunnallee, Past MADD National President

Patty (Patricia) Nunnallee, daughter of Karolyn Nunnallee

Sheila Lockwood with her son, Austin Lockwood

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Lexington, killing an entire family of five. Issam and Rima Abbas and their children 13-year-old Ali, 12-year- old Isabella and 7-year-old Giselle were killed on their way home to Michigan from vacation in Florida. Their community was devastated. And among the 7,000 people who attended their funeral was Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, who was asked by young friends of the Abbas children why she wasn’t doing something to stop these tragedies from happening. Within a week, Congresswoman Dingell introduced legislation and committed to doing whatever she could to prevent drunk driving tragedies in honor of the Abbas family. Dingell’s legislation calling for drunk driving prevention technology in all new cars passed the House in July 2020 but failed to get the required vote in the Senate. On the two-year anniversary of the Abbas family crash, Dingell pledged to fight again to pass the Honoring Abbas Family Legacy to Terminate (HALT) Drunk Driving Act. Soon, New Mexico’s newly elected Senator Ben Ray Luján agreed to co-sponsor the Senate version of the bill with Senator Rick Scott of Florida. The members of the war room rolled up their sleeves and got to work. Op-eds by victims and survivors sharing their stories and urging Congress to pass the HALT Act were published in key states. Then press conferences and meetings with members of Congress, followed by more meetings, sometimes to stave off last-minute changes that would weaken the bill. Amid the frenzy, the war room met on Thursday nights to catch each other up and encourage each other to keep going. They shared their stories during mission moments. They leaned on each other, dozens of moms, dads, sisters, brothers, spouses and children who had suffered unimaginable loss and survivors who live with the consequences of someone else’s choice every single day. Rana Abbas Taylor, sister to Rima Abbas, and Ken Snyder, whose daughter Katie was killed by a drunk driver, were called upon time and again to speak with members of Congress and the news media – Rana in honor of her five family members and Ken for his technical expertise and connections with the auto industry suppliers, as well as in honor of Katie. Rana even testified before a U.S. Senate Traffic Safety Hearing on the need to require technology in all new cars to stop drunk driving. Across the country, victims and survivors were making their voices heard to their elected officials, local news outlets and on social media. Technology exists to prevent drunk driving and it’s unconscionable to wait any longer. Then on July 1, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the HALT Act as part of the Invest in America Act. A month

later, the Senate passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act with the drunk driving prevention technology provisions included. With the provisions in two bills, one that had passed the House and another that had passed the Senate, the next step was for just one of those bills to pass the other chamber. Finally, on November 5, the House passed the Senate’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and sent it to President Joe Biden to sign into law. The war room came together the next day to celebrate. Senator Luján made a special appearance – his second visit to the war room – to thank victims and survivors for their work on the bill. Luján, whose car was hit head on by a drunk driver when he was 19, said he still sees headlights in his nightmares. But on this day, Luján and his fellow victim survivors had their sights on history in the making. The end of drunk driving was nearer than they could allow themselves to believe just a year ago. On November 15, Alex traveled to Washington, D.C., to witness President Biden signing the Infrastructure Bill into law. Representing more than 1 million victims and survivors MADD has served, Alex told the President, “We are really going to do it, we are going to end drunk driving this time.”

MADD National President Alex Otte and President Biden celebrate the Nov. 15 bill signing at the White House.

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Millie Webb’s nephew, Mitchell Pewitt Jr.

Millie Webb’s daughter, Lori Webb

Millie Webb and her family

Millie Webb, Past MADD National President

Ken and Claudia Snyder holding a photo of Katie Snyder Evans and family

Becky, sister of Wendy Hamilton

Timmy, nephew of Wendy Hamilton

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“I am in awe of the war room. I’m so proud of all of them and what they’ve done and not giving up and sharing their stories and their hearts to spare others pain. I can’t tell you what it’s done for me. There’s still people out there willing to get in the trenches and fight despite the opposition. It’s almost like when this was introduced, the thought of this was a dream, but it’s going to come to fruition. It’s just amazing how many people are going to be spared that heartache. Those of us who have been here for so long, we gave the information, we told people not to drink and drive but this is really going to prevent it. The love and the bond we have with victims is immediate, but soon we won’t have all those victims. I’m thinking about so many of those thousands of victims over the years. I can see their faces and if only the technology had been available. Most people thought nothing would happen during Covid, but the war room just kept on fighting. Who would have ever dreamed of that war room? We have always fought the war on drunk driving but really did this time.” - Millie Webb, MADD National President from 2000-2002. Millie and her husband Roy suffered severe burns and injuries in a drunk driving crash that killed their 4-year-old daughter Lori and 19-month-old nephew, Mitchell Pewitt, Jr., and caused their daughter Kara to be born prematurely and legally blind. Their crash occurred August 14, 1971. “I’m new to MADD and wasn’t aware of the war room concept or the potential power of the war room. As I saw the shared commitment during the meetings, and then participated in Member meetings with other MADD warriors, I saw the power of the war room in action. It was the right group at the right time. Wow!” – Ken Snyder, whose 37-year-old daughter Katie was killed by a drunk driver on Oct. 6, 2017. “I was inspired to observe so many individuals who have been victimized turn their pain into power. They doubled down with their passion to do what was needed to get the HALT and RIDE Acts accomplished.” – Jan Withers, MADD National President from 2011-2014. Her 15-year-old daughter Alisa Joy was killed in a drunk driving crash on April 16, 1992. “MADDvocates working together, from across the entire country, generated an excitement and hope in MADD’s efforts to end impaired driving that we had not seen in years.” – Wendy Hamilton, MADD National President from 2002-2005. Her 32-year-old sister Becky and 22-month- old nephew Timmy were killed by a drunk driver on September 19, 1984.

Jan Withers, Past MADD National President

Alisa Joy Withers, daughter of Jan Withers

Wendy Hamilton, Past MADD National President

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A s I heard the historic news of the House passing the bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, my thoughts reverted to the details of my own pain and grief. This bill may lead to a future of no more drunk driving through technology. A tsunami of emotions quickly washed over me, as my feelings began to unfold: from sincere joy, relief, and hope, to those familiar raw emotions. It's amazing what love can accomplish – victims, families, and a national community uniting, joining forces collectively to end impaired driving. This monumental and hopeful news brought me back to that moment when life spiraled out of control, and I wished that my son could reap the benefits, but was grateful that thousands of others would.

woman had just picked up her prescription of medical marijuana and laced it with PCP. As she drove erratically, weaving in and out around cars at over 115 mph, driving in the wrong lane, she crashed into our son head-on. Kyle initially survived the crash, but became trapped in his Jeep as it was engulfed in flames. Our dreams are often haunted with how he must have suffered in that violent, blazing crash. We cannot go back. We cannot get over it. We can only move with it – living alongside tremendous grief and loss, finding ways to walk alongside our grief, building a life around the edges of what will always be a void in our family.

The way to survive grief is to allow the pain to exist and just be, not try to cover it up, ignore or rush it. Grief festers, always unfolding and shifting, needing space to be, which can only

As many of us know, life can change in an instant. My 23-year-old son Kyle became one of those horrible statistics, killed at

the hands of a drug-impaired driver in a sudden, violent crime. The reality of living our life is now entirely changed by loss. Loss of our dear and loving child, loss of what our family once was, and loss of what could have been in years to come. Three years have flashed before my eyes; it feels like just months ago when that devastating phone call arrived at 3:20 am Scotland time from the Police Chief, 18 hours into a 15-day trip. On July 31, 2018, at 5:50 pm, Kyle was driving on a rural 2-lane roadway when a 29-year-old

happen when one leans into it. Grief is unique to each one of us. There is no right way or wrong way to grieve. It’s as individualized as we are. Grief is an emotional response to any type of loss - loss of a pet, home, partnership, amputation, miscarriage, cognitive functioning, neurological impairment, coping skills, sense of personal safely, the ability to drive or hold a job, the loss of a loved one as well as so many other losses. Some of these may be secondary losses that can complicate grieving. Grief in itself is a universal

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experience. We all will experience grief within our lifetime, but no one ever wants to talk about it, since many of us feel inadequate for the right words. Grief, what it is, and what it can look like for people is often misunderstood in our culture. It can be hard to acknowledge and can feel isolating. Grief is messy, complex and always moving. Allowing movement in and out of pain can help balance grief with periods of respite, giving permission to set it aside for a time. Breaks from pain are needed. Routines, structures, and schedules can assist in physical and emotional reprieve. As stressors crop up, I realize that I need to step back to take a break by making my world smaller and more self-care focused. Grief has become part of our new story. We are not the same people we once were. Grief doesn’t exist without love or value. We grieve because we love and miss. Death doesn’t end our relationship or our love for Kyle; it’s just different now. We carry him with us into the future together. We continue to speak his name, tell his stories, and share parts of his idiosyncrasies so that his legacy continues to live on. A grief-stricken, broken heart is also adaptable – the heart can feel multiple things at the same time. A heart can be grieving and in pain while at the same time still be hopeful, and joyful. Pain may become muted at times, when numbness or other emotions come in. It can be in the background, lessening its grip – but always remaining,

lurking – like a “little grief - devil,” sitting on my shoulder and whispering in my ear, reminding me of my loss. The inclusion of these varied emotions into our current daily lives, special milestones, and holidays allow us to carry our loved one with us. These special and significant family times can magnify loss even more. How can we celebrate togetherness when our family is not entirely together? Last year, my family had to maneuver these emotions of grief and joy co-existing as we prepared for our daughter’s wedding. Lindsey got engaged three days prior to her little brother’s death. Kyle was the first person she told that she had gotten engaged. Together they had decided to start a new trend - Lindsey had asked Kyle to be her man-of- honor, since he was her only sibling and best friend for life. We had to continue on living, celebrating Lindsey’s wedding while balancing the void we all were feeling. We spoke about Kyle, set a seat for him, a picture of Kyle was tied around Lindsey’s bouquet, and we felt his presence with us. We had to give ourselves permission to make new memories. There is room to carry sorrow and joy together. Shortly after Kyle was killed, we did things that were extremely hard for us. We moved toward painful situations and experiences that we knew Kyle would have loved experiencing himself, hoping that he would see these same experiences through our eyes, instead of his own. Early in our grief, we experienced things that mattered most to Kyle: traveling to the 911 Memorial Museum, visiting Ogunquit Beach where he spent every summer with his

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girlfriend, seeing the National Baseball Hall of Fame Museum, purchasing season tickets to Fenway Park, spending weeks boating at our favorite family spot, a small iconic island off the coast of Rhode Island. Then we traveled back to Scotland to complete our trip that got tragically disrupted - to the exact place where we got the horrific news. We created new family memories while exposing ourselves to more pain, vulnerability, and uncomfortableness so that we might feel closer to Kyle’s love. One step at a time while navigating life, we’ve worked at integrating and remembering Kyle with more love and joy than with extreme pain and sorrow. It doesn’t mean that we don’t feel intense grief and pain at certain moments, or with unexpected reminders of the loss on certain calendar dates throughout the year. We are learning that grief cannot keep us from living a full life or from loving others. Our lives are different now. Grief has become part of our new identity. Part of us died along with Kyle and part of him will always live on in us. We cannot change the death of our son, but we have the power to change what happens next. Volunteering for MADD has allowed our raw grief to be witnessed and allowed us to be with others who have also experienced the same violent crimes, helping us feel less alone and victimized. In the midst of our own grief, we strive to make changes in laws and policies (or the lack of them) that had contributed to Kyle’s death. Kyle had no choice, no voice and became powerless. But we have a choice,

a voice that empowers us to do what we can to prevent other families from experiencing the same kind of hell we live with every single day. Our extreme pain and grief will not be in vain. This doesn’t give our life purpose – it gives our grief purpose. MADD has given us a platform uniting with other families to join forces collectively to serve our community, helping to make change to end substance impaired driving.

If you have been impacted by a drunk or drugged driving crash, please connect with us on Facebook. MADD Victim Services hosts a private Victim Facebook Group where people who have been impacted by drunk or drugged driving crashes can connect

with other victims and survivors Click the Link below and ask to join! Get connected today!

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LEAN ON ME...FOR SUPPORT at MADD, those who have experienced injury due to a crash. As the first MADD Injured Victim/Survivor support groups took place, victims and survivors were offered an opportunity to connect with each other via Zoom to S ometimes the people who can provide the most support are those who have already been through it. When individuals are impacted by the crimes of drunk and drugged driving, the feeling of being alone can be overwhelming. Even friends or family who mean well often have a hard time understanding the emotions and long

provide and receive support to and from each other. Chris Kalnasy knows what it’s like to experience the severe trauma and impact of injury due to an impaired driver. On October 26, 2016, Chris, his wife and sister as well as a friend were all in a truck on their way to a Halloween party when they were struck by a driver on drugs who was also more than two and a half times the legal limit. All of them were medevacked to a trauma hospital with severe injuries. Chris has had, and may continue to need, numerous surgeries and medical intervention even now, five years later. He was only 25 when this happened and his wife, Angie, who was only 26, will be impacted for the rest of their lives due to their severe injuries. Chris is now also a caregiver to his wife as they support each other through the painful injuries they have both endured and continue to experience. Chris came to MADD because of his frustration with a criminal justice process that sentenced the driver to 20 years for the severe injuries they had all sustained, but the driver only served one year out of 20 due to the way the court functions. At that point he reached out to see what could be done and found the harsh reality so many people find, that the court system doesn’t take these crimes nearly as seriously as they should and there was no specific remedy on his case. In making that connection with MADD he connected with some of his peers – others who had gone through their own experience. He remembers the support they provided when encouraging him to share his own story to offenders. He started volunteering as a speaker at MADD’s Victim Impact Panels. In a desire to somehow support others

term impact these crimes have on people’s lives. Peer support can be crucial. It offers an opportunity for people who have gone through some of the worst experiences of their lives to open up and share their own experience with others, connecting with those who may have gone through something similar. Every aspect of a person’s life is impacted after a crash, things that people could never imagine are now a harsh reality. The support can come in many forms, in formal ways like support groups or informally as peers connecting at an event and talking about their experience. It doesn’t matter which way it happens as long as it works for the people who are connecting. 2020 offered an additional obstacle that many people faced, there was a natural disconnection that took place between typical kinds of support. Courts were shut down, families were distanced, and friends couldn’t see each other. Amid that chaos there were still victims and survivors of crashes needing help. Online support groups became a reality for many, in 2020 our MADD offices moved to that virtual platform to continue to provide support. 2020 was the year local MADD support groups became an accessible network of online support groups. In 2021, the MADD Victim Services Advisory Group (a group of MADD staff who represent different voices across the country) recognized a need. The need for online support groups which served a specific set of victims who sometimes feel like they don’t have a place of their own

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who had gone through their own situation, Chris, volunteered with MADD to offer peer support. When he gets connected to other people, he shares his experience but also provides suggestions that helped him and might help them. Some of the things he speaks about is to find an outlet for your frustration because it is going to happen. Find a safe place to yell, punch a pillow, let that anger out when it fills you up. Also find that one person who can put their own emotions aside and just be there for you each day - someone who can say – what do you need today and try to help. Recently he participated in the MADD Injured Victim/ Survivor support group, and he said it was a way he could see when someone was tense, see where support could be provided and provide a perspective that there is hope through healing. You might come out the other side stronger than you could have imagined. At the same, it’s so unique for every person, that we recognize even hearing the word hope and healing can be triggering to those who are in so much pain.

Chris says, much like we have heard from so many others at MADD – that it isn’t a club we wanted to a part of or asked to be a part of, but everyone in the club knows what you are going through. The different stages and getting that support from people who have experienced it, is a new experience, when you are around them – when you speak to family and friends who don’t get it. They think, “you are still alive, you are fine. You have bumps and bruises but you are OK.” They don’t really understand. At MADD and through each other, whether it’s a one-on- one peer support volunteer or through an online support group, or through our amazing private Facebook group for victims and survivors. The connections made between peers is something you can’t replace. As we look towards a future of No More Victims®- MADD will be here to be a bridge between those peer connections.

“ Every aspect of a person’s life is impacted after a crash, things that people could never imagine are now a harsh reality. ”

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LEAN ON ME...FOR COMMUNITY T here are people in our lives who connect with us on such a deep level that it leaves an imprint on who we are. Darcie was one of those people for anyone who

many levels. Nicole has shared her story as a victim speaker, she has created and led a Walk Like MADD event in Maine. Nicole actively supported and participated in walk events across the country and served as a leader volunteer in her resident state of North Carolina. She is now serving as a member of the MADD National Board of Directors. The love that Nicole has for her sister Darcie goes even further. For 20 years, Nicole volunteered as a soccer coach for groups of kids who played soccer at a very competitive level. Soccer is something that both Nicole and Darcie had in common. In the same way that she dedicates so much of her time to MADD, Nicole shared her love for Darcie through her coaching. Years ago, she coached a team of 9- and 10-year- olds called the Wildcats. She was a tough but fair coach that believed in hard work, team support, encouragement and taking the time to coach about more than just soccer. She made it a point to make positive and long-standing impacts on their lives. Nicole always knew that Darcie’s legacy would live on in those important messages she shared with her teams. It was clear this year, that the legacy lived on when one of those girls she had coached many years ago now

met her, and especially for her older sister Nicole Hutchinson. She was all that is sweet and sassy, bright and fun and she looked up to and loved her sister. There are lots of wonderful, funny memories of Darcie that Nicole holds dear but one in particular highlights the fact that she just loved people. Nicole remembers a time when she offered to take Darcie and a friend to lunch one day during school. Nicole sat in the car waiting for her sister and friend when an unexpected trail of 6 kids filed out and into the car to ride to McDonalds. Darcie told her sister “Well…I couldn’t pick just one right?”. That’s just who she was, someone who wanted to include everybody in the fun. When Darcie was 21, she was hit and killed by a three-time repeat drunk driver over twice the legal limit on September 13, 1996. Nicole was devastated by her sister’s death and decided she would do all that she could to make changes to prevent these awful crimes. Through the years she has honored that commitment and impacted countless lives through volunteering for MADD on

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advocated for change herself among her own teammates. As a collegiate basketball player at Yale University, Robin Gallagher shared Darcie’s story and created a Walk Like MADD team. The team included family members, friends and teammates in honor of Darcie and Nicole. Their team t-shirts are a beautiful reminder stating ever so poignantly “Sisters are Forever.” Although Robin’s life is super busy, jam packed with school and basketball, she will always remember the many ways her coach Nicole impacted her life

what happened on the field, it was about who they were as humans. In fact, one year when it was time to share Darcie’s story with the team, Robin stood up and volunteered to share it herself and passed along the lessons she had learned from her coach. The positive ripples of Darcie’s life and legacy keep impacting the world because Nicole, Robin and so many others don’t want anyone to forget that each choice is important and that those choices, both positive and negative, can make a huge difference in the lives of people around us.

When Robin thinks back to all of the ways her phenomenal “Coach Nicole” helped to shape her future, she thinks of the times they talked as a group about making smart decisions, about how choices can

This year at the Connecticut Walk Like MADD event Robin and her team the “Walking Wildcats,” were pleasantly surprised by Nicole’s unexpected visit to join

not only impact your life but the lives of so many. Through those years of coaching, Robin’s team slowly learned more about Darcie’s story. They were invited to the MADD Walks, got chances to participate, engage and learn about the impacts of drunk driving and the ripple effects choices can have both positive and negative. Robin remembers how Nicole cared about their growth as people. It was more than

their efforts on walk day. It was a time of happy reunions, celebrating the positive impacts that Darcie’s legacy has left on the world and the important reminder that Sisters are Forever.

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LEAN ON ME...TO HELP OTHERS BY THERESA MARTINEZ M y 23-year-old daughter, Ashley, was killed by a drunk and drugged driver on April 29, 2012. The driver hit her head-on, and she died at the scene from a severed brain stem—while the impaired driver sustained a broken leg. Losing my daughter is how I got involved with MADD. I’ve been a helpline volunteer for several years now, and I’m passionate about helping other people who have had similar experiences. Furthermore, I have spoken at Victim Impact Panels, am a board member of Compassionate Friends, lobbied lawmakers in Kentucky, and presented at various high schools. I’ve been volunteering at Kentucky high schools for eight years now. I explain the impacts of drunk and drugged driving from a parental perspective; sharing Ashley’s video, the devastation of having a police officer come to my home and burying a 23-year-old child. The drunk driver left me with the sound of Ashley’s voice, that I have recorded from her phone. Sharing Ashley’s story alongside the impacts of drinking and driving fills my soul, and I hope that sharing her experience will encourage young adults to make the right choices. People often give me hugs when I speak for the Victim Impact Panels in Kentucky. They say, “You have got to be one of the strongest moms I know and…I’m sorry for your loss but thank you for coming. I couldn’t imagine what my mom would be going through if she had to do this.” I always tell kids to never ride with a driver who is substance-impaired, and not be fearful of informing their parents. I explain that their parents would rather come pick them up than to have a coroner and police officer tell them their children won’t come home. I think that driving substance-impaired is selfish, even if it’s a short ride home. My daughter was only 15 minutes away from home when she was hit. Volunteering for the MADD helpline brings awareness of the impacts of drunk and drugged driving to family, friends, and the community. Sharing my loss of a loved one due to a drunk and drugged driver is how I relate with

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those who’ve been impacted. I share to help victims and survivors feel comfortable speaking with me, knowing that I’m not just a person answering the phone. I always want them to know that they are welcome to express their thoughts and feelings to me however long it takes to help alleviate some stress. Sometimes they express their frustration with the court system, or the way their cases are handled. I provide some educational information, such as explaining the roles and services of a MADD advocate in conjunction to helping others understand that laws are different depending on the state. Lastly, I let them know that MADD is here to help and pass along their information to an advocate in their state or where the crash occurred. I also encourage them to reach back out to the helpline if they’d like, to ensure they know MADD is here to help them anyway we can. Some phone calls with victims and survivors can bring me to tears. One call I will never forget was from a woman who lost her three children to a substance impaired driver who was in a wrong-way lane. Her loss was both heartbreaking and devastating. Learning that the laws are different in the court system for each state was shocking, especially with the sentencing of an offender. I’ve heard

of some offenders being released from prison from a small sentence after killing someone’s loved one. When they ask me about my experience, I explain that, unfortunately, every situation is different; the person who killed my daughter had an extreme background, which provided an effective plea deal to sentence him to 18 years. He agreed on the 18-year sentence, but one of my stipulations was that he not resist shock probation. Although he received an 18 - year prison sentence, mine was a life sentence. Therefore, I understand the frustration other victims and survivors must feel when dealing with smaller sentences from the civil and criminal justice system. I receive a sense of healing when volunteering for the MADD helpline, because it’s my way of giving back to people. People will receive 10 times more when giving to others. Due to my passion, I make sure I’m available anytime I have an opportunity to get involved with MADD. I thought I would be a mother-in-law or grandma, yet instead, volunteering has been my new journey with Ashley’s spirit guiding me through life. Drunk driving is 100% preventable and I would love to see NO MORE VICTIMS®!


The Portraits for Healing program provides victims with a portrait of a loved one killed or injured in a drunk or drugged driving crash. A minimum donation of $50 goes directly to MADD Victim Services to help provide free supportive services to those affected by these preventable crimes. MADD is grateful to artist Bill Small of Danville, Calif., a MADD volunteer generously donating his time and talents to provide this healing opportunity.


22 MADDvocate ® Dustin Michael Church August 24, 1985 – July 10, 2004 Portraits for Healing Dustin Michael Church August 24, 1985 - July 10, 2004 Supporting MADD Victim Services


Hosted by MADD Michigan: Held every other Wednesday, starting 4/21/21 from 6–7pm EST. Please contact Betsy Harris at betsy.harris@ madd.org or Stephanie Hurst at stephanie.hurst@madd.org for updates and log in information. Hosted by MADD Louisiana: Held once a month from 5:30pm–6:30pm CST. Please contact Kelley Dair at kelley.dair@madd.org or Valerie Cox at valerie.cox@ madd.org for update and log in information. Hosted by MADD Tennessee: Held the second Monday of the month from 6–7pm EST. Please contact Jami Wilson at jami.wilson@madd.org or call 615.360.8055 ext. 4756. Hosted by MADD Illinois: Held the second Thursday of the month from 6:30-8:30pm CST. Please contact Kristi Hosea at kristi.hosea@madd.org. Hosted by MADD Arizona: Held the second Saturday of every month from 11:00am-1:00pmMST and every fourth Wednesday of the month from 6:00pm- 8:00pmMST. Please contact azvictimservices@madd.org for further information. Hosted by MADD SE Texas: Held every Thursday from 6:00-7:00pm CST. Please contact Casie Harris at casie.harris@madd.org or Julio Zaghi at julio. zaghi@madd.org. Hosted by MADD Colorado: Held every other Wednesday from 5:30-7pm MST. The next meeting is 4/28. Please contact Juliet Tunks at juliet.tunks@ madd.org. Hosted by MADD Mid-Atlantic: Held the second Tuesday of the month from 6-7pm EST. Please contact Robin Stimson at robin.stimson@madd.org. Hosted by MADD Pennsylvania: Held the third Thursday of every month from 7-8pm EST. Please contact Linda Sposato at linda.sposato@madd.org for login information.

Hosted by MADD Missouri: Held the first Monday of every month at 6:00pm CST. Please contact Xavier Salas at xavier.salas@madd.org, Deby Bennett at deby.bennett@madd.org or Aja Corrigan at aja.corrigan@madd. org to register. Hosted by MADDMinnesota: Held the last Thursday of the month at 11am and 5pm CST. Please contact Rahya Iliff at Rahya.iliff@madd.org or Megan Helberg at megan.helberg@madd.org. Hosted by MADD Alabama/Georgia: Held the last Thursday of the month at 6pm CST. Please contact Sharlenor Whatley at Sharlenor.Whatley@madd.org Hosted by MADDWest/Central Texas: Held every first and third Thursday of the month from 7-8:30pm CST. Please contact Sally Johnson at sally.johnson@ madd.org, 512-445-4976 x 4851 or Dawn Bevin at dawn.bevin@madd.org, 806- 793-6233 x 4872. Hosted by MADD Florida: Held the first Tuesday of every month at 6:30pm EST. Please contact maddfl.victimservices@madd.org to register. Hosted by MADD Indiana: Held the second Monday of every month from 6-7pm EST. Please contact Pam Kelshaw at pam.kelshaw@madd.org or Annie Baker at annie.baker@madd.org to register. Hosted by MADD Kentucky: Held the second Tuesday of every month from 7-8pm EST. Please contact Ethan Gayheart at ethan.gayheart@madd. org; Amy Leffingwell at amy.leffingwell@madd.org; or Lois Windhorst at lois. windhorst@madd.org to register.

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