HEARTFELT WORDS- Aleta Neville

MADD’s Red Ribbon Campaign kicks off

With the holiday season fast approaching, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is hoping to raise more awareness and keep drivers from getting behind the wheel impaired.

The 19th annual Red Ribbon campaign kicked off last week and locals are invited to tie a red ribbon to their vehicles.

Aleta Neville, president of the local chapter of MADD, said the emphasis around the holidays is important, but it is an issue that needs to be dealt with all year long.

“Impaired drivers don’t pick their victims. It can happen to anyone,” said Neville.

The average age of the victims on the memorial wall at the kickoff was between 15 and 24 years of age.

“We can never remind motorists too often the dangers of impaired driving,” said Neville.

MADD Canada is about awareness programs, education, public policy, victim services, tributes and memorial walls.

By tying a red ribbon to your car, purse, keys, briefcase or backpack, Neville said they hope to raise the awareness about the senseless carnage caused by impaired driving. “Project Red Ribbon is MADD’s largest and longest running public awareness campaign celebrating its 24th year this year,” said Neville.

Neville became involved with MADD when an impaired driver killed her 21-year-old son in 2006.

“Becoming involved wasn’t my choice, it was a choice that was made for me.”

Neville said that when a person is killed by impaired driving it is not the family that loses the most, “It is our loved ones who lose the most by losing the right to their futures.”

Deaths and injuries caused by impaired driving are 100% preventable, said Neville. “They are not accidents, they are crimes that are punishable by law.”

Mayor Morris Flewwelling was at the kick-off to sign a proclamation by the City that November 2011 will be deemed MADD Month in an effort to raise awareness for the campaign.

“Certainly impaired driving is one of the most abhorrent crimes in our community and our country. It is hard to deal with when the statistics show that we are dealing with the carnage of our young people,” said Flewwelling.

The proclamation states that an increased knowledge of the effects and consequences of impaired driving will help lessen the senseless slaughter on the roads, he said.

For more information visit www.madd.ca.

kpalardy@reddeerexpress.com

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