Full Family Trees

My son gave my daughter, Jennifer, a subscription to ancestry.com for Christmas, and with her husband, she has focused on rooting around their family tree. As I watch, I cannot help but notice a huge hole.

My son Kevin is married and adds a beautiful wife to our family. Jennifer is married and adds a wonderful husband and delightful sons. But Alisa, who was killed by a drunk driver when she was 15-years-old, is entered with the date she was born and the date she died. Her lineage stops with her. There begins a hole in the tree that reminds me of the hole in my heart.

This is my last year to serve as MADD National President. It is a privilege to walk along side each of you. Everywhere I go I take you with me in my heart, which is such an honor.

I have been asked what I am most proud of accomplishing in this position. Goodness. I can’t answer that because, you see, “I” do not accomplish anything alone. Rather, “we” are accomplishing so much together.

I want to say I am most proud of how we support people who have been victimized by substance-impaired driving. We are a powerhouse of kindness and knowledge. I want to say I am most proud of our research-based way of reducing underage drinking. I want to say I am most proud of how we are successfully reducing drunk driving in states that have passed all-offender alcohol ignition laws. I want to say I am most proud of the forward movement in the advanced technology research, the DADSS program, which will one day eliminate drunk driving.

It is for all these reasons that I am filled with not just hope, but with certainty, that we will save even more lives. We will not rest until there are no more holes in family trees caused by underage drinking or drunk driving. We will work hard to ensure that our family trees are filled with great stories and robust legends, not empty promises of what might have been.

That’s why this new year, as every year, I am resolved to work side-by-side and arm-in-arm with you to save lives and support people. I humbly say to each of you, thank you for being in my life and being part of my family.