Today at National Conference we held a very special luncheon to honor MADD Difference Makers – our partners who make MADD’s work possible. Recognition awards were given to 22 of our partners, and five media awards were given to our teammates in the media. Click here to see a full list of award recipients.
NFL Player Delanie Walker shared how his aunt and uncle, Alice and Bryan Young, were killed by a drunk driver after watching Delanie play in the Super Bowl in 2013. The former San Francisco 49er and now Tennessee Titan, Delanie knows first-hand the devastation that drunk driving can bring, and we were honored that he was able to join us in DC to provide an important mission moment to the crowd.
“I want to do everything in my power to stop another family from getting a phone call that changes their lives forever,” Walker said.
Afterwards, Delanie stayed on stage and was joined by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss MADD’s partnership with the league, which began in 2009. What began as a pilot program with two teams to work together on game-day designated driver programs, has expanded to almost half of the teams in the league in some form.
“It’s all about making sure the experience for our fans is a safe and exciting one,” Goodell said. “We have made progress but have more work to do to ensure that everyone associated with the NFL makes safe, responsible decisions with alcohol and never gets behind the wheel when they shouldn’t.”
MADD Chief Executive Officer Debbie Weir praised the both Delanie and Commissioner Goodell’s commitment to the issue and expressed gratitude to for all that they have done to help raise awareness for our mission.
MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church ended the luncheon with a quote from Green Bay Packers Coach Vince Lombardi’s: “Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” Thank you to all of MADD’s partners and supporters for being a part of the elimination of drunk driving.
Today’s luncheon was sponsored by Google.
The 2015 MADD Media Recognition Award winners are as follows:
Katie Couric, for her segment on “Teens and Alcohol” on the syndicated talk show Katie. The segment featured former MADD National President Jan Withers, MADD National Board Member and college student Monica Vandehei and the bereaved parents of an 18-year-old boy who died in an underage drunk driving crash.
Dennis Thompson, Staff Writer, HealthDay, for his four published online articles which raised awareness of MADD’s mission. Thompson’s articles covered underage drinking, child endangerment, drugged driving and more.
Heidi Hemmat, Investigative Reporter, Fox 31 (Denver, CO), for her in-depth research on repeat offenders and nine months of preparation to finalize the segment which shined a light on repeat offenders in Colorado, and also highlighted the need for a Felony DUI law in the state.
Connoisseur Media (Long Island, NY), for their ongoing partnership with MADD New York to spread the word about local efforts through interviews and PSAs with MADD New York staff members and the former and the current MADD National President.
Providence Journal (Providence, RI), for their eight published articles in 2014 highlighting underage drinking, MADD Candlelight Vigils and more, ultimately helping MADD Rhode Island reach a larger audience.
The 2015 MADD Partner Recognition Awards are as follows:
Presenting Partners recognized were National Football League, Nationwide and State Farm insurance. Velocity/Discovery Communications was honored as a National Media Partner. Supporting Partners included GM Foundation, GuideOne Insurance and Uber Technologies, Inc. Contributing Partners recognized were DG Group, Google, Lyft, MADD Canada and NABCA. Strategic Alliance Partners included American Grandparents Association, CarChex, DialAmerica and MADD Virgin Drinks. The 2015 MADD National Conference Sponsors were also recognized. These include: Chapman Cubine Adams + Hussey, Google, GuideOne, MADD Virgin Drinks, OneAmerica, Staples, The Heritage Company, Toyota and US Coachways.
I’m really looking forward to the MADD National Conference in Washington, D.C. on June 4th-6th, which marks MADD’s 35th anniversary. It will be a celebration of what has been accomplished, as well as an inspiration to continue working toward the elimination of drunk driving.
The conference is a great time to talk with volunteers and staff from around the country; to share what’s working and what needs more work. It’s a time to thank our partners for helping to make MADD’s work possible, and honor Law Enforcement Officers for the great job they do 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s also a chance to learn.
Presentations and workshops will be offered on every topic imaginable—advocacy, fundraising, victim’s rights, drugged driving, Power of You(th), Power of Parents, victim services, court monitoring, victim impact panels, engaging the community, ignition interlock devices, new technology and a host of other topics.
We’ll hear from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, as well as Tennessee Titans Tight End Delanie Walker, who will share his story of how his family has suffered from a crash caused by a drunk driver.
We’ll celebrate volunteers at a special luncheon. And at the culmination of the conference on Saturday night, we’ll present President’s Awards to volunteers, staff and community partners for the tremendous work they do. I’ll have the opportunity to talk about Dustin, our son who was killed by a drunk and drugged driver. I’ll talk about the heartache and hope, why MADD is helping to fight drugged driving, and how every action creates a future of No More Victims™.
Most of all, I’m looking forward to meeting all the wonderful people from around the country who work so hard for this cause, and that includes the Presidents who have come before me. I’m looking forward to hearing their stories and their ideas. All of YOU inspire ME, and together we will eliminate drunk driving.
Fact: wearing your seat belt is one of the best ways to protect yourself from a drunk driver on the road. And with this weekend being Memorial Day weekend, we know there is a good chance more drunk drivers will be on the road – in 2013, 146 people were killed in drunk driving crashes over Memorial Day weekend.
If every person was properly restrained on every trip, thousands of additional lives could be saved by seat belts each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly half of the 21,132 people killed in crashes on our nation’s roadways in 2013 were not wearing their seat belts.
And it’s just as important to buckle up in the back seat. Too many people wrongly believe they are safe in the back seat unrestrained. Half of all front-seat occupants killed in crashes in 2012 were unrestrained, but 61 percent of those killed in back seats were unrestrained.
Regardless of vehicle type, time of day, or seating position, wearing a seat belt is the single most effective way to protect yourself in a crash. That’s why through May 31st, law enforcement officers will be stepping up enforcement and cracking down for NHTSA’s 2015 Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign.
The national Click It or Ticket mobilization has increased seat belt use and saved many lives over the years, but there is still much more that can be done. High-visibility enforcement and encouraging loved ones to buckle up can turn lives lost into lives saved. Learn more about the Click It or Ticket mobilization at nhtsa.gov/ciot, and help spread the word!
So this Memorial Day weekend (and every day of the year), make sure to designated a non-drinking driver if your plans include alcohol, and always buckle up.
I know we just celebrated Mother’s Day, but with your support for MADD, you’re making more “every” days possible.
You keep drunk drivers off our roads, and keep families safer. That not only means happier Mother’s Days, Father’s Days, and Grandparent’s Days. It means happier everyday days – Wednesdays in March and Fridays in October – for husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, best friends, and neighbors.
Your generosity saves lives and keeps families together, so they can enjoy every day. And you and I know that every day with our loved ones is a day worth celebrating. So, Happy Every Day, and thank you for supporting MADD. I look forward to continuing this lifesaving work alongside you.