Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Practice "The Better!"

"The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better." Richard Rohr

When is comes to practicing safe driving behaviors, we all could use more practice in order to become better. Choose one or two of the following behaviors in order to "practice the better" each time you get behind the wheel.  

Before starting a motor vehicle...

...walk around your vehicle to make sure there are no kids playing behind or around it.

...hide your cell phone - where you can't reach it - so that it does not serve as a distraction as you drive (remember when no one had to worry about doing this? Cell phone use while driving is becoming the new "Drunk Driving")

…never drink and drive

...buckle up every trip, and expect all passengers to do so as well, no matter the distance of the trip. Remember, unbuckled passengers can serve as "backseat bullets" careening all over your vehicle in the event of a crash.

...stop at stop signs and taking 3 seconds to look left, look right, look left again - work hard to make sure the street really is clear of other moving vehicles, pedestrians trying to cross, and cyclists making their way along roadways.

stop to make sure intersections and crosswalks are clear before making lefthand or righthand turns at traffic signals

observe the speed limit, and drive slower when weather conditions or the presence of children at play, pedestrians, and cyclists dictate doing so. a thinker and use your blinker to signal all turns and lane changes.

create 3-4 seconds of following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you so you have time to react to the driving actions of others.

Repetitive practice of all these behaviors - "the better", and more, is what helps us improve our driving skills each day. None of us will ever be the perfect driver. Yet, if we are driven to care each time we get behind the wheel, we can make the life-giving difference each and every trip. 

It's About Kids! It's About Safety! 
It's About Caring! It's About Time!®

Safe travels,
Tom Everson
Keep Kids Alive Drive 25®
A Non-Profit "For Action" Organization 501(c)(3)


12418 C Street

Omaha, NE 68144

Make your donation to support the KKAD25 mission today @ KKAD25 Donate. A personal thank you note will arrive in your mailbox (not your e-mail box).

Monday, August 25, 2014

Smile & Walk a Mile!

Smile & Walk a Mile - The Neighborhood Mile Campaign 

No, it's not the Ice Bucket Challenge! It's the invitation to walk a mile in your own neighborhood. While walking, be sure to greet neighbors along the way.  Note stop signs and speed limit signs along the way. Make a pledge to yourself to practice Stop! Take 3 To See and to Keep Kids Alive Drive 25®, or slower in the presence of pedestrians, cyclists, and children at play. Then, get out again and walk a mile (or more) each day. Feel better, get to know your neighbors, and pay attention to ways you can be a safer, friendlier driver to keep yourself and all your neighbors safer on and along roadways.

And while you are walking, please consider a pledge to support the mission of Keep Kids Alive Drive 25® to make streets safer for all who walk (run), ride (cycle), play, and drive. $5, $10, $25, or more goes a long way in driving our mission into communities across the U.S. as well as with families whose loved ones have died in traffic incidents - Live Forward!™  Make your life-preserving contribution @ KKAD25 Donate. Checks can be sent to:

12418 C Street
Omaha, NE 68144

Your generous giving keeps kids living! Thank you!

Safe travels,
Tom Everson
Executive Director
Keep Kids Alive Drive 25®A Non-Profit "For Action" Organization 501(c)(3)
12418 C Street
Omaha, NE 68144  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Rocky Mountain Range of Emotions!

Pikes Peak rises 14,115 feet high - 7,815 feet above the start-line for our Run to Remember teams' 8th annual trek to the summit in honor of loved-ones who have died in traffic incidents. We carried the names of 87 loved-ones on our shirts to the top. The weekend provided a literal "Rocky Mountain Range of Emotions" - from tears to laughter and just about every emotion in between. 

90+ represents the number of loved ones who die on American roadways each day. Our team runs to honor all these loved ones. Click to meet the Faces of Love-Ones Our shirts were designed by Denise McPherson, Brandon's mom


Six LIVE FORWARD! families joined us for the weekend. Families from throughout the U.S. wore their Live Forward! & Run to Remember Shirts in solidarity with all who gathered on Pikes Peak August 16th

Russ Lloyd, Shannon's dad, with his brother Errol, joined us for the 
3rd year to run in her honor and memory. 


The LIVE FORWARD!Run to Remember Team posing before the Start (yes, Michael ran all the way to the top in that straw hat) From L to R - Patrick McCusker, Michael Everson, Russ Lloyd, Matthew Everson, Tom Everson, Mike Everson, Shawn Everson, and Sean Everson (Uncle and Nephew)
Bryn's family helping to direct those erecting the Start-Line banner

Kenny's family honoring his love and memory


Maria and Sierra came to honor Elijah (with yours truly and Wendy, my wife)


Sky- running always starts with a rendition of America the Beautiful, written by Katharine Lee Bates while on the summit of Pikes Peak in the summer of 1893

Patrick begins with a smile. He would later succumb to oxygen deprivation and not reach the summit - yes, this race is really that tough! Believing in redemption, Patrick took this all in stride and plans to return next year to run to remember. Will you be there as well? 

Tad, and Isaac with Alexa Bear in honor of Alexa, and Jona at the Memorial to Katharine Lee Bates with the poem that became "America the Beautiful"


Maria and Sierra enjoying a light moment at the summit

Mike, our fastest finisher - and past medal winner - crosses the finish line

Matthew, 8 time team member, crosses the line with a personal best - by 26+ minutes - he gave all he had!

Michael finishes with a personal best by 20 minutes - It's the hat!

Shawn, in the white hat, realizes a personal best as well - by 10 minutes

Sean follows his brothers to the finish - yes, the expression is appropriate to the effort needed to reach the summit.

Russ brings it home for Shannon for the 3rd time

Yours truly, Tom, closes out the finish for our team - 36 minutes faster than last year!

Matthew and Mom embrace

Posing with Pat, Addi, and Lyssi at the summit

Tad, Jona, and Isaac, honoring Alexa, celebrating with families at our closing dinner

Maria and Sierra honoring Elijah

The Dirkschneiders honoring Bryn and Ken - nephew and cousin

Stewart, Ken's Dad and Bryn's Uncle

Our closing meal Saturday evening drew families and runners together for a truly grace-filled meal. Stories were shared, memories were made. 

These photos tell just a small part of the story. Being there tells it's own story. The mountain holds a magic that draws people together. We are all better for the experience. Thanks to all who made it happen - every family connected with the Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 mission, our runners, and all who donated to make a magical weekend possible for all those who Live Forward and Run to Remember.

Simply put, the weekend was a medal-winner all the way around.

We look forward to making more memories when families and our team gather again next year the weekend of August 15th for the 60th running of the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon. We welcome your presence, as everyone who gathers adds to the gift that is Live Forward! & Run to Remember.


Photos for this essay were taken by family members who served as our cheering and support crew throughout the weekend. They also provided love and support for each other - an amazing bunch of human beings who truly define what it means to be family. Thank you!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 - 16th Anniversary

August, 2014 marks the 16th year since the birth of Keep Kids Alive Drive 25®. The idea for a national neighborhood-based traffic safety campaign was hatched during an early morning run at the corner of 120th and Center in Omaha, NE. 

The motivation was simple, in 1998 Wendy and I were parents to 4 kids between the ages of 4 and 10. At times the speed of more than a handful of drivers on our street was cause for alarm - Omaha Police reported a high speed of 57 mph in our neighborhood and an average speed of 31 mph in our 25 mph zone. Why wait for a tragedy? Let's be proactive and create educational initiatives that encourage the practice of safe driving behaviors. Thus, the mission of Keep Kids Alive Drive 25® was born - to make streets safer for all who walk, ride, play, and drive.

The results so far:
  • Over 1,500 initiatives representing communities in 49 U.S. States, 3 Canadian Provinces, The Bahamas, and Queensland State, Australia. Colleagues in India, South Africa, and England have also utilized our resources.
  • 16% decrease in average speed (6 mph) recorded in the first pre/post study conducted on the use of KKAD25 yard signs by the City of Oceanside, CA - published in the Urban Transportation Monitor
  • 13.5% decrease in average speed (4.5 mph) recorded in the first pre/post study conducted on use of KKAD25 trash can decals by the City of Oro Valley, AZ - published in Traffic Safety Magazine (National Safety Council) 
  • Diverse partners, including Ford's Driving Skills for Life, GEICO, Plymouth Rock Insurance (a catalyst in engaging almost 100 New Jersey communities in KKAD25 campaigns), AAA Cornhusker Motor Club, UPS, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, countless neighborhood and homeowners associations, public works departments, over 500 law enforcement agencies, school PTAs, DECA, and FBLA chapters, and the list goes on and on. 
  • Creation of Live Forward! to support families of loved ones who have died in traffic incidents in bringing good into the world in their honor and memory. 
  • 8 years of observing Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 Day in communities throughout the U.S. 
  • 8 years of Pikes Peak Run to Remember events to honor loved ones who have died in traffic incidents. 
  • 3 years of Omaha Area Run to Remember 5K events to bring area families together in honor of their loved ones. 
  • Establish "America's Trash Talks to Keep Kids Alive" 
  • Creation of the following educational campaigns:

Much remains to be accomplished as an average of over 90 loved ones die each day on America's roadways, as well as thousands more around the globe. Engineering advancements have worked to make roadways much safer. Yet, the real focal point for safety remains our behaviors behind the wheel along with pedestrian and cyclist behaviors on and along roadways. You are invited to make our mission your mission. Learn how to do so by being a Life Preserver each and every time you get behind the wheel.

And remember, all the reasons we should ever need to practice safe driving behaviors are found in our answers to these two questions:

1. Who do you love?
2. Who loves you?

Safe travels,
Tom Everson
Founder - Keep Kids Alive Drive 25
Donate to support the growth of the mission @ KKAD25 Donate