-More than 300 people gather in Denver to Honor those killed in drunk and drugged driving crashes--
DENVER, April 29, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Colorado today, held its annual Celebration of Life Candlelight Vigil for the state's victims and survivors of drunk and drugged driving crashes. MADD hosted more than 300 attendees including victims, survivors, community partners and MADD volunteers at the Inn at Hudson Gardens.
Attendees joined together to light candles, watch a poignant slideshow showing the faces of those injured and killed in drunk and drugged driving crashes, and then shared a candlelit walk through Hudson Gardens which ended at a memorial dedicated to victims and survivors. MADD adopted a tulip tree and engraved a brick in the Rose Garden at Hudson Gardens in honor of all victims and survivors of drunk and drugged driving crashes.
Jennifer Gray's husband and daughter were killed, and another daughter was injured in a drunk driving crash in 2004. She attends the Candlelight Vigil each year with her family. "For us, the Vigil holds an important part in our lives. It's honoring the past and the pain. Never forgetting, but always moving forward." This year, the readings shared by the program speakers were written and submitted by MADD victims and survivors, including one particularly touching poem by Gray's daughter, McKayla, a survivor of the crash that killed her sister and father, entitled Irreversible.
Although the number of drunk driving crashes nationwide has been cut in half since MADD was founded in 1980, the Vigil is an important annual event that, sadly, continues to grow. In 2010 alone, 127 people in Colorado were killed in drunk driving crashes and countless others were injured.
"MADD's Candlelight Vigil is an opportunity to honor and remember those killed and injured in drunk and drugged driving crashes in Colorado," said Emily Tompkins, MADD Colorado State Executive Director. "Remembering these tragedies is not only important to those who are bereaved and injured, but it is also crucial to reminding our community about their role in eliminating these 100 percent preventable deaths and injuries."
The timing of the this year's Vigil is significant as it took place as National Crime Victims' Rights week concluded, an annual nationwide awareness campaign honoring crime victims and those who advocate on their behalf. As summertime holidays like Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day are fast approaching, law enforcement is preparing for impaired driving crackdown periods in Colorado, while many families face these and other holidays knowing a loved one will be missing from their celebrations. Others are forced to watch their loved ones suffer from devastating injuries, which keep them from living the lives they once knew. The Vigil is a chance to honor and remember those forever changed by impaired driving crashes and remind the public of the tragic consequences of drunk and drugged driving.
MADD, one of the nation's largest crime victim assistance organizations, provides services to a victim/survivor of drunk or drugged driving crash every nine minutes at no charge. These services include support from trained advocates and a network of peers, guidance through the judicial process, and counseling referrals and more. In 2010 alone, MADD served more than 60,000 victims and survivors of drunk and drugged driving crashes nationwide.
MADD Colorado thanks the following financial contributors that made the Candlelight Vigil possible: Bachus & Schanker, LLC, MADD Colorado's 2012 Statewide Sponsor; Bell & Pollock, PC, MADD Colorado's 2012 Victim Services Sponsor; and the 2nd Judicial District VALE Board. In addition to the Candlelight Vigil, their contributions support MADD Colorado's Victim Services year round.
For more information on how to volunteer with MADD or to make a donation to support MADD's work in Colorado, please visit www.madd.org/co.
About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation's largest nonprofit working to protect families from drunk driving and underage drinking. With the help of those who want a safer future, MADD's Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® will end this danger on America's roads. PowerTalk 21® is the national day for parents to talk with their kids about alcohol, using the proven strategies of Power of Parents™ to reduce the risk of underage drinking. And as one of the largest victim services organizations in the U.S., MADD also supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every nine minutes through local MADD victim advocates and at 1-877-MADD-HELP. Learn more at www.madd.org or by calling 1-877-ASK-MADD.
SOURCE Mothers Against Drunk Driving Colorado