MADD National Conference Celebration of Life: Steps to Healing

Tonight we kicked off the MADD National Conference with the Celebration of Life: Steps to Healing victim/survivor tribute.  At the ceremony, six of the past MADD National Presidents read poems, many by famous poets, but one was written by Carl McDonald, MADD’s very own National Law Enforcement Initiative Manager, to honor his daughter Carlie.

“Balloons on a Birthday Night”
By Carl McDonald


They went up this time a bit lazy
The January winds were kind.
New lighting on the Angel Plaza
Kept them glowing into the sky.

Against the darkness they rose east
Catching the light of the city.
Little dancing globes
Turning to stars in the heights.

Ten of them. I laughed with her for five;
Cold creeping in now with unfairness.
Breathing the frost of pain.
No candles of warmth and light.

Gone from my sight the orbs;
Nothing left to see.
A silent home to return to
…alone….just me.


Jan Withers, MADD National President, unveiled the “Expression Boards”—chalk boards for conference attendees to write their memories, thoughts and feelings on each day of the conference.  Each night, the boards will be erased to give everyone a fresh start for the next day.

Past National President Laura Dean Mooney passing the Designated Driver Key to Current National President Jan Withers
Wall of Honor (victims and survivors of drunk driving)

What a great start to the National Conference!