It is with great sadness that we must announce that former MADD National President Rebecca “Beckie” Brown passed away on November 6, 2012. Rebecca was elected to MADD’s national board in 1986 and founded and served as chair of the Public Policy Committee from 1987 until 1990. She served as National President from 1993 to 1995.
Like so many, she came to MADD due to tragedy. On December 8, 1979, Beckie and her husband, Charlie, were driving home from a party when police cars raced past them. As they came upon the scene of the crash, they realized that someone had been killed. An instant later, they were devastated to discover that the victim was their 18-year-old son, Marcus. He was killed by a 19-year-old drunk driver.
After that tragedy, Beckie channeled her grief into the fight against drunk driving. She founded MADD's chapter in Pasco County, Fla., and helped to form Florida's state organization.
Soon, Beckie realized that legislative work was her passion. She worked tirelessly to help pass the 21 drinking age law in Florida, realizing that Marcus might have been alive had such a law been in place in 1979. She also worked hard on the national 21 Minimum Drinking Age Law and was in Washington, D.C., on July 17, 1984, when President Reagan signed it into law.
Known for continually asking what MADD can do to save more lives, Beckie became the catalyst behind the development of a series of Impaired Driving Workshops. In her pursuit of solutions, Beckie served in a key role in the development of National Sobriety Checkpoint Week and spearheaded the creation of MADD’s Rating the States program, which rates individual state’s efforts in the fight to prevent drunk driving.
Perhaps her greatest accomplishment was laying the foundation for MADD’s “20 x 2000,” a five-point plan to reduce alcohol-related deaths by an additional 20 percent by the year 2000—a goal that was accomplished three years ahead of schedule.
Her presence will be missed; however, her legacy lives on as we work hard every day to pass tougher laws and implement sound public policy.