By Joshua Jahn
Drunk driving victim
It was at her 8th-grade graduation that I first noticed her.…the girl who would eventually become my wife… I met Mandy and, I swear, she had the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen.
And I had the honor of looking into those eyes for years, including a beautiful stretch of almost a decade when we were inseparable...
My three-year-old son Ryan was already looking forward to his birthday on Dec.29th. As a volunteer firefighter, I was so proud he talked about following in my footsteps...
Kaitlyn was that perfect baby all parents want. Childcare volunteers at church used to fight over watching her. And she was at such an inquisitive age...
The only Christmas celebration we had all together with my wife, my son and my 11-month-old daughter before drunk driving ripped them away was in 2007.
We had a fresh tree. I was so protective of sweet baby Kaitlyn. I’d run outside to warm the car if she had to go out. Mandy and I stayed up until 3 a.m. putting together a train set for Ryan, and I took a picture of him jumping for joy with his sister in the background confused about all the excitement he had because of his present on Christmas morning.
Now, I am asking you for a different type of present – one you don’t have to wrap. Will you donate today in honor of every family missing a loved one? Will you donate in honor of all victims?
I left this part until last...the part about the crash because I want to focus on my family's life, not their death.
Ten days before Thanksgiving, a woman sat at a bar drinking for SIX hours, before staggering to her car, putting the keys into the ignition, and speeding away. Her blood alcohol content was TWICE the legal limit. She hit my wife and my two children going more than 70 mph on a back road, and the force of the impact snapping a nearby telephone pole like a twig.
When the doctors asked for permission to stop resuscitation efforts on Kaitlyn, I whispered to her, “I am sorry I couldn’t protect you.” When I had to say goodbye to Ryan, I told him, "You will always be my hero."
I returned to the field to make a vow to Mandy. I told her I will move heaven and earth to bring as much meaning to their deaths as they brought to my life.
My greatest regret is the future that the repeat offender that killed my baby girl stole from me. I will never get to watch Kaitlyn graduate or make a toast at Ryan’s wedding.
These future moments, the common and uncommon ones, that’s what I miss. That’s why I work toward a future I can make happen – a future of No More Victims®.
Will you join with me in donating to MADD to prevent other families from experiencing this pain and tragedy. When you give today, Nationwide will DOUBLE your donation.
And that's a prsent that we all truly need - the end of drunk driving.
More than 10,000 people were killed by drunk driving last year. We must end this - and we can!
But MADD, as one of the largest crime victim services organizations in the nation and the ONLY grassroots organization focused on stopping this 100% preventable crime, needs YOU!
The majority of individual donations come in December. That means our ability to provide services and programs throughout the other 11 other months is dependent on your generosity during the next 30 days.
I personally want to let you know that I believe MADD to be a responsible steward of your donations.
How do we use your gifts?
MADD reaches into the community to teach teenagers about the dangers of underage drinking and drunk driving with its Power of You(th)® Program. At the same time, it works with their mothers and fathers through the Power of Parents® Program. Together, those efforts are helping to eliminate the myths, focus on the truth and change the culture. In addition, MADD is piloting a SMART program that will give those under 21 years of age who have been arrested for underage drinking or traffic violations the tools to make better decisions in the future.
Dating back to its inception, MADD has worked to change laws. Every state using .08 as the measurement for drunk driving is an example of the early success. Now, MADD is working to improve drunk driving laws in each state, targeting the use of Ignition Interlock Devices for all offenders, DUI Child Endangerment laws and others. Led by our Governmental Affairs Team, state staff and volunteers work with legislators to pass sensible legislation that helps save lives.
Supporting the Development of Life Saving Technology
The Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving is dependent on the development of technology. That’s why MADD is so supportive of the DADSS Program, the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety. Focusing on the development of in-vehicle technology to prevent alcohol-impaired driving, DADSS may lead to a day when there are No More Victims®.
Supporting Law Enforcement
MADD actively supports the work of law enforcement around the country - from being with them during Sobriety Checkpoints to honoring them for their vigilance in making our roads safer. Because they have their boots on the ground enforcing our laws 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, lives are being saved.
And, for victims, there is always a place at MADD. That is as true today as it was at the founding 36 years ago. That support never wanes, even while doing all of the above.
So, please help us continue our efforts with a donation this month.
Remember, whatever you’re able to give will be matched by Nationwide®, giving MADD double the impact this coming year!
More than 22,000 people walked to ensure #DrunkDrivingEndsHere at more than 90 events nationwide, making the 2016 Walk Like MADD season the most successful yet!
Supporters raised more than $3 million to fight drunk driving. Thank you to everyone who walked or donated to Walk Like MADD.
Thanks to tireless staff and volunteer leadership, corporate partnerships and passionate Walkers and donors, well over half of the Walks reached their goal. This is vitally important because all Walk funds stay IN the community. That means, whether you Walk in Ohio, California, or Texas, you are fundraising to prevent drunk driving in your community.
There were many highlights this year, including:
- In Atlanta at the Rise Up & Run 5K Walk Like MADD event, one of our most successful events of the year, the Atlanta Falcons partnered with MADD, making it our first Walk NFL partnership.
- Down in Fort Lauderdale, the Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash Fort Lauderdale is so popular it is seen as a charity of choice in the community.
- In Maine, a sister made a promise to bring a Walk to her hometown in honor of her sister, killed by a drunk driver. It took twenty years, but she made it happen! See photos from this touching event here.
- The Twin Cities Walk received a visit from National President Colleen Sheehey-Church - and captured it all on a drone video. Watch it now.
- Houston could have thrown in the towel after rain forced us to cancel part of the event - but residents came out stronger than ever for the rescheduled Walk.
- And Dallas Walk Like MADD tapped into the craze over Pokémon Go to attract Walkers to this great event.
The clock is ticking for Annie’s law, an Ohio bill that would require all offenders to prove they are sober before driving.
The bill calls for ignition interlocks, a device that has prevented more than 1.77 million drunk driving attempts. The bill is named after Annie Rooney, an attorney who was killed by a repeat drunk driver.
Her brother and national MADD Board Member Dr. Walt Rooney talked about his sister on Facebook Live recently.
Dr. Walt Rooney talks Annie's Law and drunk driving prevention
#MADDLive with drunk driving victim and MADD National Boardmember Dr. Walt RooneyPosted by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) on Friday, November 11, 2016
Annie's father and sister are visiting each Ohio Senate committee member, caring the story of their loved one and the need for ignition interlocks for all offenders.
Ohio residents, we need you to speak up! Please send this email to your representatives to let them know you support #AnniesLaw