I’ll never forget the strength and the courage I received from my victim advocate after my son Dustin was killed by an underage, drinking and drugged driver.
Michelle provided me with a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen. Ultimately, she gave me hope that one day I would smile again during a time when everything seemed dark.
That’s why we are proud to share the 2017 membership campaign. We are asking all MADD supporters to renew their membership pledge today by “adopting” an advocate, the individual who offers emotional support and help to a victim in their time of need.
Many people may have participated in our annual January membership campaign previously, and we can't say thank you enough to these core members who make it possible fight drunk and drugged driving and underage drinking. We hope everyone will join us in 2017 as well.
We have set a goal of bringing in 51,000 members to symbolically represent the fact that someone is killed by drunk driving every 51 minutes.
And, for that, we need everyone who believes in a future of No More Victims® to speak up!
Let's meet the advocates:
Kristi covers nearly 80 counties in Illinois. She struggles to fund all the trips and visits needed to sit and hold a hand or attend a court hearing.
Often, she is the person walking into a person's life when everyone else is walking out.
|Serving all of southwest Missouri, Laura acted as the voice for the victims in the Dylan Meyers case, which made headlines last year thanks to the offenders' blatant lack of remorse.|
When you pledge support for an advocate by renewing your membership, that advocate will share quarterly updates so you can witness firsthand the difference you are making in real people's lives.
We hope you will consider helping us reach our goal of 51,000 members by adopting one of these dedicated difference makers.
MADD West Texas Program Manager Vanessa Luna-Marquez has been speaking up against drunk driving – and people are hearing her!
She earned recognition from 34th Judicial District Attorney Jaime Esparza for her service to the community.
"It is with great pleasure to present you with the HELP, HOPE, HEALING, VOICE award at this year's 'A Voice Against Crime' 10-mile walk across El Paso," a letter from DA Esparza reads. "You are being recognized because you play an important role and go the extra mile in our mission to provide HELP, HOPE, HEALING and VOICE to victims of crime on their long road to recovery. You are truly an asset to our community's victims."
Vanessa said she was honored and humbled to be recognized.
"Over the years working at MADD, I have met many families whose lives have been impacted and changed when their loved one is killed or injured in a drunk driving crash," Vanessa said. "I feel blessed to be part of their lives and help take healing steps; it is an honor to keep the legacy of their loved ones alive thru my work in the community."
MADD provides a victim service at no charge every three minutes, making it one of the largest nonprofits for victims of violent crimes. It is only through the dedication of people like Vanessa that we are able to be there for so many people.
Asking for $300,000 wasn't easy. We knew it was a lot to request from our supporters, but we also knew it was vital to help victims, advocate and support lifesaving technology.
Thousands of people stood up to demand an end to drunk driving, a 100% preventable and violent crime. Together, we raised nearly $260,000 to provide victims with a service at no charge every three minutes, to advocate for justice in our laws and courtrooms, and move lifesaving technology to the market faster.
This year, we face some challenges, but we remain dedicated to moving from more than 10,000 victims a year to No More Victims®.
And thanks to you, we have the ability to do so.
We asked people to share why they donate to MADD. Here are just a few reasons people shared:
"My son was hit by a drunk driver, and it was the driver's third offense. Fortunately, my son lived, but it was an emotional experience I will never forget. I pray people will think before they drink." – Sherma Jones
"Our donation is made in honor of our precious grandchildren, Ryan and Kaitlyn Jahn, and their sweet momma, Mandy Jahn, who were all killed by a drunk driver on November 6, 2008. Yet, even in their absence, Mandy, Ryan, and Kaitlyn's story continues to touch hearts, change lives, and prayerfully be instrumental in ending this preventable crime once and for all."– Karen and Ed Jahn
|"We're donating to help make our road safer; a drunk driver killed our daughter on 12/22/2007. We just want to bring awareness to our society that nothing more devastating than seeing your own kid passed before us."– Tguyen|
These are just a few of the responses we received. Many are from victims or survivors. Others come from people who KNOW there is a solution to this epidemic.
And with your help, we will get there.
Thank you for your generosity.
"We're donating to help make our road safer; a drunk driver killed our daughter on 12/22/2007. We just want to bring awareness to our society that nothing more devastating than seeing your own kid passed before us."– Tguyen
When someone you love is killed by a drunk driver, all you have left are memories.
Your future can be reduced to despair or it can be propelled into advocacy that helps save the lives of others.
I watched the latter played out in the lives of the Rooney family in Ohio. A drunk driver killed 36-year-old Annie Rooney, an advocate and attorney, July 4th, 2013. Annie, an avid mountain biker who was looking for a sponsor to continue excelling at the sport, was driving home after picking up a bike at a friend’s house. The offender was going 100 miles per hour, resulting in several people calling into the police to report her erratic driving. An off-duty officer also pursued her because he witnessed her driving at dusk with no lights on through a school zone. READ MORE ABOUT ANNIE.
The driver was more than twice the legal limit and had been previously arrested for drunk driving three times.
In the midst of their mourning, Annie’s family began a mission… to have the state of Ohio improve the ignition interlock for all drunk drivers. Throughout the process of developing the law, the Rooney’s never missed a hearing. Annie, who had worked diligently as a prosecuting attorney on domestic violence and DUI cases, deserved a law in her name… Annie’s law.
For a while, it looked like the clock would expire for Annie's Law. Her family, including MADD National Boardmember Walt Rooney, went on Facebook Live with a plea. WATCH IT NOW. We rallied support and conducted a full-court press.
Finally, on December 6th, the bill was passed. It was unanimous. I had the privilege of being there at the State Capitol in Columbus, Ohio as the vote came in and watch the tears flow down the faces of the family.
Annie would live on in this law, “Annie’s Law”. And over the years, while the pain and suffering will continue for the family, the state of Ohio will reap the benefits of their dedication.
Lives will be saved thanks to them. And someday, all of us will be able to live in a world with NO MORE VICTIMS®.
As I look back at 2016, I realize I learned one very important lesson as the National President of MADD… getting ahead of the story makes all the difference in the world.
That was evident at the beginning of the year as the Ethan Couch drama swirled. Couch is the “Affluenza Teen” who killed four people, injured many and paralyzed another for life in a drunk driving crash in Texas. At 16-years-old, three times the legal limit of alcohol and with marijuana in his system, he destroyed lives and families forever. He received no jail time for his crime.
As the nation watched Couch’s blatant disregard for the law by fleeing to Mexico, they also watched you and MADD seize the opportunity to right the wrong. While I was in the media spotlight each day to explain our position, you were signing a petition created by MADD to change the outcome. The petition generated more than 50,000 signatures - 30,000 within 24 hours!
In less than 10 hours after sharing my open letter advocating for "Affluenza" teen Ethan Couch to serve 720 days in jail, the judge reaffirmed the adult probation terms and Couch received the sentence. While a woefully short sentence, it was the maximum that Texas law would allow at that point. However, Couch’s probation will expose him to the possibility of 40 years imprisonment in the future.
I saw a similar impact when MADD got involved in the Dylan Meyer drunk driving fatality case in Missouri. Another petition and my highly publicized letter to the judge helped put Meyer in prison on a 10-year sentence. I’ve also seen how getting ahead of the story has helped establish important legislation such as Noah’s law in Maryland and Annie’s Law in Ohio.
MADD’s voice is being heard. Your voice is being heard. And bringing our voices together, early and often, can create change.
So, don’t stop advocating for better laws.
Don’t stop remembering the victims, and don’t stop telling offenders that their excuses don’t work any longer.
Together, we can create a world where there are NO MORE VICTIMS®.