During the past year and a half, I’ve found that things don’t always go as planned… especially if the weather’s involved. That was the case in Sugarland, Texas outside of Houston for their Walk Like MADD event. Heavy rain flooded the park where the Walk was to have taken place. MADD quickly shifted into high gear with a flurry of phone calls, texts, and contingency plans. The nervous energy infected everyone on the team and set butterflies off in my stomach.
But the enthusiasm from the MADD Southwest, Texas team turned out to run deeper than the water. We were here to honor victims. We were here to remember lost loved ones. And we were here to end drunk driving – and no amount of rain clouds could quench our shared desire to make this a momentous morning.
They decided to hold a Rally and more than 300 super-charged volunteers and victims turned out for the event. Velocity's Chris Jacobs joined me at the event. We spoke to the crowd and met with the victims. Many fans couldn’t pass up a chance to snap a quick selfie with the former Overhaulin’ star. Chris, who previously appeared in a MADD PSA, was all smiles as he walked with his group, Team #OverhaulinMADD. Jacob’s also serves as a national spokesperson for Velocity’s Drive Smart, an advocacy campaign created by Velocity with the help of MADD to encourage and raise awareness for safe driving practices on America’s roadways. Velocity donated $5,000 to the walk.
Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Harris County District Attorney’s office and other law enforcement departments made a strong showing, which makes sense. These heroes are on the front lines of one of the most dangerous counties in the country for drunk driving.
Before the walk, we filled the park with the chime of bells and a shared shout of, “Drunk Driving Ends Here!” A pinwheel memorial was set up with one pinwheel representing each of the people lost to drunk driving in the Houston area.
Southeast Texas has one of the largest MADD Advisory Boards – and I was honored to meet a few of the top-notch members. Awards were passed out to the top teams as they gathered to remember their friends and loved ones who were killed or injured by drunk drivers. In the end, the rain didn’t stand a chance, not when we had energized walkers and hard-working volunteers dedicated to making sure this event honored our lost loved ones and raised donations to create a future of No More Victims®.
I know they’ll be back at Sugarland Creek Park on June 18th, the rain date for the run, and I hope they get a bright, sunny day… and I hope the “creek don’t rise."
For more information and to register visit www.walklikemadd.org/houston.