Thursday, August 22, 2013

2013 Run to Remember - LIVE FORWARD!

I believe Pikes Peak is a metaphor for us all. In each of our lives we are striving for the Peak. The trail is long, winding in unforeseen ways, blocking our path with rocks and tree roots, and sometimes boulders. Eventually we begin to break through from those thoughts and experiences that beg us to stop climbing, to just head back down where it is comfortable. But the summit beckons, the spirit moves us, and eventually we arrive – however slowly – at our destination. In a way, we accept a calling to discover more about ourselves as well as our connectedness to our loved ones, along with strangers on the trail – really friends that we have not yet met.

Let the Run to Remember Begin so that all may Live Forward!   

It begins with a shirt bearing the name of 74 loved ones
who died in traffic related incidents. They are inspiration to all who 
know and love them, and to the members of our Run to Remember Team
as we climb upwards so that all may Live Forward!

Russ, Shawn, and Matthew on the Summit

Tom, Russ, Matthew, and Shawn framing the "America the Beautiful" Monument at the Summit. Katharine Lee Bates wrote the lyrics to this American Anthem from the summit of Pikes Peak in the summer of 1893. Thus, the color of our family t-shirts honored the lyrics, "For purple mountains majesty..."

View of the trail from the summit. Can you see the jagged switchbacks? Yes, that's the trail.

Can you spot the butterfly? 
Matthew captured this shot at 14,000 feet elevation - a sign of hope 
and new life the day before we run

Matthew provides commentary on the Barr Trail 
which we will run/hike the next day. Russ and Tom appear,
taking time to breathe in some rarified air.

The Run to Remember Team 
Mike, Shawn, Matthew, and Tom Everson, 
Dan Cockrell, and Russ Lloyd

Russ, Tad, Jona, Isaac, and his bear Alexa, named after his sister, 
one of the loved ones we ran to remember.

Russ, Matthew, Tom & Shawn just before the start

Sunbeams beckoning us to the Peak

The swarm of runners heads off for the summit of Pikes Peak

Mike Everson completes his personal record-setting run up Pikes Peak

Matthew Everson looks forward to the finish

Shawn Everson follows his nephew to the finish

Russ Lloyd nears the finish line to complete his 2nd 
Run to Remember in honor of his daughter, Shannon, 
and all her companions who carried us to the summit.

Russ with his Finisher's Medal, framed by Isaac and Tad

Tom finishing the trek to the summit

A volunteer and Dan - our teammate who ran the marathon up and down Pikes Peak on Sunday - flank me as I begin recovery from an adventure up the mountain. Along the way several runners asked about "the shirt" and I was able to share many stories. I hope the shirts that family and friends of all the loved ones we ran to remember were able to share wonderful stories of loved shared - love that inspires your life each day.

Mike - far right -receives his age group award for his personal best 3 hour and 17 minute run up Pikes Peak. Mike has participated in all 7 Run to Remember treks to the summit, and, on two occasions, back down in the marathon

Dan reaches the summit for the 
turnaround in his marathon effort.

Dan makes the turn-around to head back 
down the trail

Dan sprints for the finish on his amazing run

Dan recovering from his amazing marathon up and down Pikes Peak - in a personal record of 5 hours and 1 minute. To put in perspective, this is 36 minutes faster than it took Tom to just go up the mountain. Prior to his run Dan wrote, " I will finish! This year, not just for me, but for everyone on the shirt and everyone the KKAD25 effort saves from being lost. Live Forward!" The 2 fingers he holds up could signal "victory," but actually represent the 2 units of IV fluid he received to rehydrate. Congrats to Dan for an amazing, inspiring run.

We look forward to August 16-17, 2014 when the "Run to Remember" team takes on the Ascent and Marathon for the 8th time. 
If you want to run with us, please e-mail
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Your generous giving keeps kids and memories living!

It's About Kids! It's About Safety!

It's About Caring! It's About Time!®

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

15th Anniversary of Keep Kids Alive Drive 25®

15th Anniversary of 
Keep Kids Alive Drive 25®

The Everson Home, Omaha NE
Where Keep Kids Alive Drive 25® was born.

An idea first conceived during an early morning run in July, 1998, Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 has grown into a national non-profit based in Omaha, NE observing our 15th anniversary with a two-fold mission:

      1. Educating and engaging motorists in being the solution to traffic safety concerns by focusing on safe driving behaviors on neighborhood streets, and beyond.
     2. Supporting families of those who die in traffic incidents

Highlights of Keep Kids Alive Drive 25’s 15-year history include:

·         Collaborating to initiate community-based traffic safety education campaigns with law enforcement –over 500 agencies, neighborhood groups, public works, schools, businesses, and civic organizations in over 1,400 communities representing 49 States, 3 Canadian Provinces, Queensland State, Australia, and the Bahamas

·         Creating signature traffic safety education campaigns, including Keep Kids Alive Drive 25®, Stop! Take 3 To See®, It’s Not A Race! Create Space®, Be Aware! Drive With Care®, Seat Belts-FASTENATING!®, No Need To Speed®, and Check Your Speed®

·         The first pre/post study on the effect of a neighborhood KKAD25 yard sign campaign in Oceanside, CA which showed a 16% reduction in average speeds – published in the Urban Transportation Monitor, a traffic engineering periodical. Traffic engineers from as far away as Australia inquired about the benefits of Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 campaigns for local communities.

KKAD25 Yard Sign Campaign in Oceanside, CA

·         The first pre/post study on the effects of utilizing trash can decals to engage all residents in sending the Keep Kids Alive Drive 25® message curbside in Oro Valley, AZ, which showed a 13.5% reduction in average speeds to 24.5 mph in 25 mph zones.

·         Building upon Oro Valley’s success to establish the “America’s Trash Talks to Keep KidsAlive” campaign, with sponsorship from GEICO, to assist communities throughout the U.S. in getting the message out curbside.

America’s Trash Talks in Joliet, IL

·         New Berlin, WI which through the direction of the Police Dept. has grown their campaign every year since 1999 – a 14-year run.

·         Supporting families of victims throughout the U.S. in creating legacies in honor of their loved ones. These have included legislative action (including HB 87 in Texas, which in 2005 changed State Law regarding ability of municipalities to lower speed limits in residential zones), memorial events, foundations, and educational campaigns.

Kyle Foster, inspiration for Texas HB 87

·         Establishing Live Forward! in 2013, an initiative designed to further the work of assisting families in establishing legacies to bring greater good into the world in honor of their loved ones.

·         Creating the “Run to Remember” team which since 2007 has taken on the Pikes Peak Ascent Trail Race each year in honor of loved ones who have died in traffic incidents and to raise awareness about the need to practice safe driving behaviors.

2012 Run to Remember Team at the Summit of Pikes Peak

·         Establishing the annual Run-Walk to Remember in Omaha to draw together family and friends of those who have died to honor their lives and to raise awareness throughout the community. In addition to Nebraska, participants have come from Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Missouri, and Washington.

2013 Omaha Run-Walk to Remember

·         Fremont Contract Carriers of Fremont, NE and R&M Transportation of Omaha, NE affixing “It’s Not A Race! Create Space® decals to tractor-trailers to move the message onto roadways across America thanks to a grant from the Nebraska Office for Highway Safety.

It’s Not A Race! Create Space® decal on FCC Trailer

·         The Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 logo appeared on Dateline NBC as the lead-in for a segment on neighborhood traffic safety.

·         Be Aware! Drive With Care® yard sign was featured as the lead-in to an episode of Modern Family in May 2013

Corporate Sponsors and Partners, including:
  • GEICO Philanthropic Fund
  • Ford Motor Company Fund's Driving Skills for Life
  • Plymouth Rock - Teachers' Insurance of New Jersey
  • UPS
  • Enterprise Rent-a-Car Foundation
  • Clear Channel Communications - Omaha
  • AAA Cornhusker Motor Club
Legacy Partners - Click on Names to Visit Web Sites
·         Articles in Parents Magazine and Ladies Home Journal

·         Presenting at numerous national & regional conferences & meetings on neighborhood traffic safety, including Lifesavers, Neighborhoods USA, the Environmental Industries Association, and multiple community forums in New Jersey, California, Arizona, Texas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma.

·         Recognition from the Omaha Police Dept. with the Spirit of Neighborhood Courage Award & by the Nebraska Chapter of the National Safety Council with the B’nai B’rith Safety Award.

·         Establishment of "A License to Live" to engage high school students in creating peer-to-peer safe driving educational campaigns with support from Ford Motor Company’s Driving Skills for Life.

The Future Business Leaders of America Class at
Friend High School in Nebraska kick-off local campaign

 Favorite Testimonial:

"My community – Coppell, Texas – made headlines two years ago as it tackled this issue. As a traffic engineer by training, I was hesitant of this program and lobbied the City Council to consider other engineering, enforcement, and education alternatives so that ‘mobility’ was maintained. I have to say that since this program was adopted and the speed limits on our streets lowered (5 mph) I do feel like I am keeping my village’s children safer, that I am more alert, that I am more in control of my vehicle, that I do share those streets with pedestrians, that my ‘mobility’ has not been greatly impeded, and that streets are not for the sole purpose of drivers in vehicles trying to make their way as quickly as they can in our hurried world."

Jason Crawford, P.E
Texas Transportation Institute

Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 looks forward to continued growth in educating motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists alike to engage in behaviors that keep all people safe on and around roadways across America, and across the world as well. Learn more at

Tom Everson
Executive Director & Founder
Keep Kids Alive Drive 25®  A Non-Profit "For Action" Organization 501c3
12418 C Street
Omaha, NE 68144

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Can the Rule of 10,000 Keep Kids Alive?

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell has done much to popularize the "10,000 Hour Rule," - the idea that 10,000 hours of practice at any one pursuit helps make one an expert. If this hypothesis is true, what would happen to crash, injury, and death rates on roadways if each and every driver committed to 10,000 hours, or even 10,000 repetitions, of practice on all key driving skills necessary to keep everyone safe on and around roadways?

Here is a list of a few of the basic skills we each can include in our 10,000 repetitions safe-driving exercise regimen:

What if every time any one of us gets behind the wheel, our first thoughts are, "I am going to drive safely. I am going to...

...walk around the vehicle to make sure no children are hiding in blind spots 

...turn off my cell phone and set it aside until I reach my destination

...buckle up and make sure all passengers are buckled up as well


...observe all posted speed limits in neighborhoods and beyond, and adjust downward due to presence of children at play, cyclists, road and weather conditions

...create space - at least 3 to 4 seconds between my vehicle and others around me, so I have time to react to the driving behaviors of others a thinker and use my blinker to signal all turns and lane changes

...stop - take 3 to see at all stop signs regardless of whether or not anyone is present - it is my chance to practice making complete stops so I am ready the one time that someone does seem to appear out of nowhere

...observe all traffic signals and traffic signs

Practice each and every one of these skills for 10,000 hours or 10,000 repetitions. Send us a report on how your driving behaviors change over time to

Finally, think of the ones you love, the ones who are waiting for you to return home safely. Ask the questions:

"Who do I love" and "who loves me?" 

May the faces of all the loved ones you picture in your mind give you the "will" to practice the driving skills necessary to keep kids (of all ages) alive and to make safe driving behaviors a lifetime, life-preserving, and life-saving habit. 

Learn more about how to begin a "Keep Kids Alive" educational campaign in your community @

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