Being traumatized by the devastating effects of drunk driving is so overwhelming that I often say there are no human words to describe the intensity of the suffering. Those of us who have experienced such anguish know just how fragile we are during those first months and years, and because our friends and family members frequently don’t know what to say or how to support us, we can find ourselves isolated.
Thankfully, there are special individuals who do not shy away from our pain, and instead embrace us for as long as we need. In my case, that person was Pat Herbert.
Pat is a dear friend who was always there for me during my most painful hours. She just lost her battle with cancer last week. She would not only reach down into my dark hole to help me out, but she climbed into that hole with me when I needed her. I never had to ask, she was just there. She never told me to move on – and I know she had to want to – I cried for so long – but she was patient. I wore out my sofa, soaking it in tears. She was there. She is one of the main reasons I am vertical and no longer horizontal on that couch.
She walked beside me and my family through the court process. We were angry together. But she also smiled with me, shared beautiful memories with me, laughed belly laughs with me, cried with me, played with me, acted crazy with me—I just sit here and smile at all the memories. My precious friend, Pat Herbert, helped carry my heart into peace.
Many of you belong to this special group of compassionate individuals that Pat represents for me. I consider you to be true angels here on earth. So to each of you who help others across these treacherous rocks, I extend my profound gratitude. You don’t know just how deeply your kindness is appreciated. In memory of my Patricia, I want to tell each of you how much you are loved.
Malina Price-Bos grew up in Auburndale, FL. At the age of 19, she won Miss Auburndale and was later awarded the Miss America Organization’s Community Service award.
She dedicated her life to community service and making a difference for others. After graduating from college, Malina and her husband Keith moved to Israel to become missionary teachers. But tragically, their marriage was short lived. After her husband’s death, Malina returned home to Auburndale.
On St. Patrick’s Day in 1996, just two months after Keith died, Malina and her parents were driving home from church. They were in separate vehicles, when a vehicle crossed the center line and sideswiped the vehicle her parents were in, and then struck the vehicle Malina was driving head-on.
Malina was killed instantly. She was 23.
The driver had a blood-alcohol level of 0.24 and told officials at the scene that he had been drinking at a few bars. He was convicted of DUI manslaughter and sentenced to 17 years in prison. He served 9 before being let out on an appeal.
Malina’s family – her brother Bubba, father Larry, and mother Flora – was devastated by her death. They connected with Mary Dean, a MADD victim advocate in MADD Polk County who helped them throughout the court proceedings. Malina’s mother, Flora, continued her involvement with MADD because she knew Malina would have wanted her do something to help prevent drunk driving. Flora served as the leader of the MADD Polk County Chapter, and continues to share her story often, participating in panel discussions at schools and at court-appointed activities.
“The pain of loss is still real but I am grateful to MADD for the opportunity to volunteer, making Malina’s death not be in vain,” said Flora.
Last fall we launched the third annual Power of You(th)® Video Contest, where, along with Presenting Sponsor State Farm®, we asked teens around the country to create a 15-second Instagram video that answered the question, “If you don’t drink alcohol today, what could your tomorrow be?”
Today, we’re excited to share with you the winning video by Keegan Carlson, age 17. Keegan’s video shows that if he chooses to stay away from alcohol today, he can be anything he wants to be tomorrow — an engineer, an actor, an athlete, an artist, a dancer, an architect.
Watch the winning video now:
MADD also recognizes Ricardo Estrada Junior High School in Horizon City, Texas, for having nine student video contest entries — the most entries received from any one school, as well as Caelan “Cal” Barr, age 17, for his two runner-up videos, both of which send powerful messages about underage drinking prevention. See his videos here:
We encourage you to watch and share these videos to help empower teens to say no to alcohol and never get in a car with someone who’s been drinking.
Thank you to all the teens who participated, and congratulations to the winners!
Providing compassionate, impactful services to victims, including injured victims or family members and friends of those killed by a substance-impaired driver, is a core MADD priority. Our victim services are provided by dedicated volunteers and staff across the country. In 2012, MADD Victim Advocates were a lifeline to more than 61,000 victims.
Franz Kegel and Dave Smith are extraordinary MADD volunteer Victim Advocates who have been helping victims for more than 28 years. Together, they founded and led the MADD efforts in San Joaquin County, California. Franz became involved with MADD after his daughters, Liesel and Elke, ages 16 and 15, were killed in a drunk driving crash on their way to a school dance.
In 1982, an offender with a blood alcohol concentration of .17 killed Dave’s 18-year-old son, Jon, in a drunk driving crash. The offender was arrested for drunk driving, hit and run, and manslaughter. The case was plea bargained to a misdemeanor hit-and-run conviction and all other charges were dropped.
“I learned what helped me through the nightmare of my daughters’ deaths and I share with others,” Franz says. “Supporting victims is the most important thing we do. We try to be available to victims 24/7. We quickly answer phone calls and are willing to make visits as soon as possible.”
MADD Victim Services provides court accompaniment for victims during the criminal justice process. Victims are typically thrown into the process with very little experience, which can be overwhelming, especially when someone is grieving. Franz and Dave make every effort to accompany victims to court hearings and know that being present for the arraignments is essential. They provide information to victims and paint a realistic picture of the process. Most importantly, they ensure that victims have a voice.
“The ability to listen to victims and learn, rather than giving advice right away, is helpful,” Franz says. “Dedication in wanting to help and support victims is essential.”
These courageous men are in the courtroom supporting victims and they never give up. Their dedication to MADD and the countless hours of service cannot be measured. They are true MADD heroes, providing a lifeline to those who need it.
The TODAY Show tested this in a segment featuring MADD National President Jan Withers, whose daughter Alisa was killed in a drunk driving crash caused by an underage drunk driver. The show set up a hidden camera experiment and filmed two actors waiting outside of a liquor store pretending to be underage approach nearly two dozen customers to purchase alcohol for them. The results were surprising.