Sunday, January 31, 2010

Families Crushed by Life Teach Us to Keep Kids Alive

Dear Friends in Traffic Safety,

A recent reflection invited me to think about how those who have been crushed by life; that is people who have experienced tragic loss of the lives of loved ones, possessions, homes, and more, often are the best ones to teach us how to discover great good in the midst of sorrow and heartbreak.

This resonates with me as I consider the great good that families bring into our world in memory of a loved one who has died in a tragic motor vehicle incident. These families have been crushed by what life, and death, has brought their way. Yet, in the midst of the deepest grief any of us could imagine, they work tirelessly to make sure that no other family experiences what they have endured.

These families include people like:

  • The family of Graeme Preston, who in the wake of his death along with his friend, Kevin, established the Graeme Preston Foundation to support teens doing acts of kindness in their community to make the world a better place. The foundation was instrumental in supporting the success of the 1st "Keep Kids Alive 5K Run" spearheaded by students at Colts Neck, NJ High School to raise funds to begin Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 initiatives in Monmouth County.
  • Barbara Foster, mother of Kyle who died after being hit by a car on Halloween night of 2003. With the support of friends and legislators, "Kyle's Law" went in to effect in May of 2005 allowing Texas municipalities to more easily lower residential limits from 30 mph to 25 mph. Remember, pedestrian fatalities triple in 30 mph zones vs. 25 mph zones. A 5 mph lower speed limit in residential zones truly can be the difference between life and death.
  • Maria Caifa, mother of Jacqueline and Christina who died as a result of being hit by a state trooper who ran a stop sign at high speed during a pursuit. Maria introduced Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 to the Northfield, NJ community as part of the Memory Walk to raise funds to support the education of orphaned girls in Bangladesh.
  • Sean Martin, father of Shaye, who has worked with and through the "Project Citizen" class at Miami Lakes Middle School in Florida to enact legislation that makes school zones safer for pedestrians and motorists alike. Shaye died as a result of being hit by a speeding driver while walking on the sidewalk to school. The legislation crafted by these students in cooperation with Miami Lakes city officials is now being brought to the Florida State House in an effort to create safer school zones Statewide. Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 has been privileged to support their mission.
  • Shari and Rob Reynolds who began the C.A.R. Foundation to reach out to and educate teen drivers in the wake of the death of their daughter, Cady, who was hit and killed by a distracted teen driver who ran a red light. They have expanded their efforts through their involvement in the formation of FocusDriven.

This is just a starter list of the good brought in to our world by family members who could have been crushed by death, but rather chose to teach us all to live more fully, and to care more deeply in our behaviors towards one another. Today and everyday, can we accept their good works as an invitation to be considerate in all our actions on the road by not speeding, observing all traffic signs and signals, buckling up, not tailgating, and avoiding all distractions that interfere with our ability to drive - cell phones (for any and all purposes), eating, concern with the radio or any media device, and more.

May we each drive as if our life and everyone else's life depends on it. Because it does! And let's remember the words of David Townsend, who in memory of his daughter, Tia, who was struck and killed while walking across a marked crosswalk by a driver that pulled around a driver who had already stopped to let her and her friend cross - "Don't let the 2 minutes you 'save' be the last 2 minutes of someone's life."

In safety,
Tom Everson
KEEP KIDS ALIVE DRIVE 25® - A Non-Profit "For Action" Organization 501(c)(3)

Thanks to all who financially support the mission of KEEP KIDS ALIVE DRIVE 25®. Your support is needed all year long. Donate today at KKAD25 Donate. Your generous giving keeps kids living. For more information about us, please click on our KKAD25 GuideStar Non-Profit Report.

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