For 35 years, MADD has worked tirelessly to change the narrative on substance-impaired driving. Many lives have been saved and much progress has been made since 1980; yet, there is still more to do.
This Saturday marks the official 35th anniversary for MADD. Since September 5, 1980, MADD has championed change across the country. A change in mindset, a change in action, a change in outcome. MADD was founded because of a mother’s grief, and the determination to turn that grief into action. That determination, that commitment to change, is what has always driven us.
As our 35th anniversary year kicked off in January, we unveiled an updated mission statement to showcase where we’ll focus our efforts going forward:
MADD’s mission is to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, serve the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking.
Let’s take a look at MADD’s four mission prongs and how they work together to create a future of No More Victims™.
End Drunk Driving
MADD’s work at the state and national levels for the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®has given it the influence and success it is today, just 9 years after it began. From supporting high visibility law enforcement to pushing for all offender ignition interlock legislation and advanced vehicle technology, we WILL end drunk driving.
At MADD’s National Conference in Washington D.C. this summer, we joined automakers, NHTSA and the Department of Transportation for the global unveiling of the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) technology. It was an historic moment, and gave us a glimpse of a very promising future.
Help Fight Drugged Driving
The biggest change to MADD’s mission this year is the addition of drugged driving. Our mission must be inclusive of everything we do. Drugged driving was part of MADD’s original mission 35 years ago, and we’ve always served drugged driving victims. Having it spelled out says to the victims and survivors of drugged driving that their tragedies are real and that they matter.
And at a time in our country when drugged driving continues to gain traction among the public and media alike, MADD is expected to have a voice in determining how to combat it. Drugged driving is a problem in every community across America.
MADD is a research and data-driven organization, rooted in facts, to determine sound procedures for where we’ll go and why. There is much we don’t know about drugged driving, but we’re going to find out. And we’re going to use what we find out, to decide how to address it.
Serve the Victims of These Violent Crimes
At our core, MADD is a victim services organization, dedicated to providing hope and healing to victims whenever, and wherever they need it. While we know we can create a future of No More Victims – we’re committed to serving and reaching more victims and survivors until that day comes.
Prevent Underage Drinking
Another way MADD will create a future of No More Victims is to impact the next generation of drivers. MADD’s Power of Parents, Power of You(th) and Power of Community programs – when implemented together – create a community-wide effort to address the dangers and consequences of underage drinking.
For those we couldn’t save, with those we have, and to those we can. Together, we WILL create a future of No More Victims.
September 5th marks the 35th Anniversary of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. We’ve come a long way since 1980, but still have a way to go until there are NO MORE VICTIMS™. Before MADD was founded, more than 25,000 people were killed every year in drunk driving crashes. Since then, we’ve cut that number in half. And through the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® we plan to bring the number to 0.
We had a wonderful celebration of our 35th Anniversary in June at the MADD National Conference in Washington, DC. I was truly blessed by the opportunity to meet and get to know so many of the past presidents. Their hard work has helped us bring us to where we are today. They inspired me to work even harder. Here’s a look at MADD’s history through the lens of the national president...
I’m honored to follow in the footsteps of these incredible leaders, and inspired by their efforts. Each of them has had such a lasting impact on MADD. They’ve accomplished so much that has made MADD the organization it is today and makes it possible for us to continue that progress.
But the biggest inspiration to all of us is YOU. From one end of the country to another, the energy and determination of thousands of volunteers and staff is making a difference. People are alive today because of you. The conscience of the country about drunk driving is different because of you. Laws are being passed because of you.
Don’t give up. We haven’t reached the finish line yet. But if all of us keep working together, one day we can rest, because there will be NO MORE VICTIMS.
“It’s hard enough to say goodbye to a loved one to old age or to an illness, but when you are robbed of the chance to say goodbye to someone that is just taken from you with no cause – it haunts you.”
– Kim Ray, Shelly’s sister-in-law
On September 29, 2012, Shelly Janeke Easter was on her way home from picking up sandwiches for her family when she was hit and killed by a drunk driver. The driver was traveling at an excessive speed, ran a red light while passing cars in the wrong lane and hit Shelly’s SUV head on. Shelly died at the scene. She was only four blocks from home.
Kim and her husband went to the scene. They will never forget what they saw.
Shelly was not only Kim’s sister-in-law, but also her best friend. She misses her every day. Shelly’s daughter Chesney, now 18, still struggles with not having her mother around. Kim and Chesney share a close bond and Kim does what she can to help Chesney but she knows it’s not the same, she misses her mom. Tim, Shelly’s husband of 15 years, also struggles and gets through one day at a time.
To honor Shelly, and help save other victims, Kim is committed to MADD’s mission. Kim and her husband Garry participate each year at the Bell County Walk Like MADD. Kim and Garry even lead the Zumba warm-up. And Shelly’s husband Tim plays in a band, Fireside, and that provides the music and mc for the Walk. Every year they have a team that shows up at the race wearing their “Team Shelly” t-shirts to honor Shelly, and to never forget all the victims and survivors of substance impaired driving crashes. Kim has a dream of one day hosting a MADD for Zumba event in Shelly’s honor.
In addition to participating in Walk Like MADD, Kim testified before the Texas Senate to advocate for a law requiring all offenders to have an ignition interlock device on their car earlier this year. And thanks to her efforts, that law went into effect on Tuesday of this week.
“All I know is that I have to do what I can to make sure that everyone understands and are aware that this could happen to them,” Kim says.
Kim and Garry leading the Zumba warm-up at Walk Like MADD
Tim's band Fireside at Walk Like MADD
MADD and the National Football League are partnering once again this football season to remind fans to “Play the Most Valuable Position in the NFL—the Designated Driver!”
Through this game-day partnership, MADD volunteers attend select NFL football games throughout the season providing information at MADD booths, as well as circulate through the parking lots promoting the importance of designating a non-drinking driver before the game begins.
One of the dedicated volunteers who helps make the game-day program a success is Beth Obad, a MADD Erie County volunteer for the past 20 years. Beth volunteers with MADD in honor of her George, who was killed in a drunk driving crash when he was 26 years old. Beth has been a key part of our game day program since it began as a pilot with the Buffalo Bills. She has attended 43 out of the 44 home games over the last 6 years (in the less than ideal weather conditions of Buffalo, New York). Thanks to her dedication and determination, the Buffalo Bills came in 5th place in the 2014 League-Wide Designated Driver Standings (compared 4th worst in 2010). At our National Conference this year, Beth was presented with a football signed by Commissioner Roger Goodell and Tennessee Titan tight end and MADD volunteer Delanie Walker in recognition of her role in making the program successful.
MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church, MADD CEO Debbie Weir, Tennessee Titan Delanie Walker, MADD Volunteer Beth Obad, and NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell
If you are interested in volunteering for the game-day program with the NFL, please contact your local office to see if the team near you is participating.
We are proud of the success of the game day program and are grateful to the NFL for partnering with MADD to help raise awareness about the dangers of drunk driving. This football season, what position will you play?
By Emily Guberman
On the morning of May 29, 2009, I awoke to find that for the first time ever my dad was waking me up instead of my mom. I awoke to find that I would not be attending school that day. I awoke to find that my mom had been in a crash. I awoke to find that my mom would not be coming home that morning. I awoke to find that my mom would not be coming home, ever. I awoke to find that I had hugged my mom for the last time. I awoke to find that I had heard my mom say, "I love you" for the last time. I awoke to find that my mom had been wrongfully killed by a drunk driver.
Nothing was the same after that day. It has been a little over six years since the crash, and it still does not feel real. I have days when it is difficult to accept everything, but changing the way I live my life has helped me cope immensely. I have since realized that the people in my life, although they seem immortal, will not live forever; today might be my last day to tell my family I love them, or show the people in my life how much I appreciate them. Today might be my last day to ignite change. My last day to make a difference.
On the morning of September 1, 2015 I will begin that journey to change. In one year, I am going to run 1,000 miles to raise awareness and donations for MADD. Every mile ran, and each dollar raised will be in memory of my mom and the impactful life she lived.
I invite you to join me on this journey. Please share the video, share the link to my fundraising page: madd.org/milesformom, please donate, and encourage others to do so as well. Follow me. Run with me. Make a difference with me, so that one day...
We can awake to find a world where alcohol does not override safe decisions. We can awake to find a world in which we never have to worry about the lives of the innocent.
I'm ready to run MADD Miles for Mom, are you?