This month we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the MADD Victim Help Line—a 24 hour phone line for victims and survivors of drunk and drugged driving, as well as underage drinking. While the Help Line serves thousands of people each year, we know that there are many more victims and survivors that need help. That’s why this year, MADD added a service to compliment the call-in Victim Help Line: a live chat feature that can be found on the madd.org website.
Through the live chat box, victims and survivors can chat in real time with a MADD Victim Advocate. If for some reason the advocate is unavailable, the victim or survivor will be prompted to email a Victim Advocate who will respond to their inquiry.
Many victim and survivors that contact us through the live chat box aren’t aware that MADD provides free victim services. So through this online feature we are able to connect them with a local MADD Victim Advocate who will provide ongoing support.
In just the few months that the online chat feature has been live, we’ve received positive feedback from victims and survivors about their experience:
- “I am glad that I took this step to get information that can help my niece and it was great having someone there at the other end to help me with a quick response.”
- “Great service.”
- “It felt nice to hear somebody from MADD say that nobody should have been allowed to drive that night. She was right about that!! Very nice and compassionate woman.”
- “Thank you, I had excellent information. Keep it up!!!”
- “I want to thank MADD for providing this service. I needed somebody to talk to and had nobody till I found this website… I have always supported MADD and asked others to, also. You all are great! MARCH ON MADD!!!”
MADD Victim Services is excited by the response we’ve had to this new format and we hope to continue to find additional ways to reach and serve victims and survivors of drunk and drugged driving crashes as well as underage drinking.
If you are a victim or survivor in need of support, please call our Help Line at 877.MADD.HELP or chat with us online now on the MADD homepage, madd.org.
By Dr. Gloria Horsley, an internationally known grief expert and author. Gloria is the founder of the Open to Hope foundation.
Biology is powerful and never more manifest than when there is a tragic event such as a death. Family members tend to loyally support their own and when there is a chance to place the blame it often goes to the in-laws. Having a family member die when an impaired in-law is driving is very confusing. While the in-law and their family are part of the family system, they are only invited guests. If they are substance abusers they may be loved by some and tolerated by others. Not all family members will have the same response. The history of relationships and loyalties are there even prior to the crash. So, when a family member dies due to an in-law’s negligence the family is naturally divided. It can be especially difficult when children are involved as then the in-laws do have a biological connection.
Below are some tips that you may find helpful when dealing with in-laws after a tragedy:
- Realize that the biological ties are very strong and that family loyalty may override reality.
- Leave space for in-laws who are willing to support you.
- Be open to love and support even if it is only interest in your child.
- Be generous with the children. It is not productive to blame grandparents or siblings for their adult child’s/sibling’s substance abuse.
- Directing anger at in-laws can be a distraction from confronting grief. When discussing contentious issues with in-laws stay focused on the present problem rather than bringing up old grievances. Dahlia does not talk about Tim with the family. He remains in prison.
- Be open to a different future relationship with ex in-laws. Don’t expect to be invited to their family events.
- If your in-laws are not being supportive look outside of family for a network you can rely on.
Remember that you are still part of a family with a history of shared memories. Be open to in-laws and other family members who continue to give you love and support.
Glenda Richardson joined MADD 10 years after the drunk driving crash that killed her two sons, ages 4 and 12, as well as her husband, and left her seriously injured. They were heading out on a family vacation when they were hit head on by a drunk driver.
After the crash, Glenda felt alone – like no one else in the world could relate to what she was going through. At that time, MADD had not been formed yet, and she didn’t have anyone to talk to about what had happened to her.
That’s why when MADD asked for volunteers to begin answering the Help Line calls, Glenda was one of the first to sign up to provide support to other victims and survivors. Now six year later, Glenda still takes an 8-hour shift on the Help Line every week. Many of the calls that she gets are from victims who have suffered injuries or lost loved ones and are struggling to cope. And just like how Glenda felt after her tragedy, they feel like they don’t have anyone to talk to. Glenda loves being able to give them the gift of listening and provide them with much needed support, sometimes for more than an hour at a time.
Glenda just recently answered a Help Line call from a woman whose daughter, in her early 20s, had been hit by a drunk driver the night before. Her daughter was in the hospital and had serious injuries, including a serious head injury. The doctor wasn’t giving the family much hope that she would survive. The mom didn’t know where to go or what to do. Glenda was able to talk with her, let her know that MADD was here for her, and put her in touch with her local MADD victim advocate. That night, Glenda sent a message to the local MADD victim advocate and got an immediate response from the advocate stating that they would reach out to the family right away.
Glenda wants people to know that the MADD Help Line is here to help victims and survivors and to provide support when they need it most.
“There are many things that MADD does that people don’t know about until they are involved in a crash,” Glenda said. “But our goal is to let people know about MADD’s services before they need them.”
Click here to learn more about the Victim/Survivor Help Line and MADD Victim Services. To be put in touch with a MADD Victim Advocate in your area or if you need to speak with someone as soon as possible, call MADD's Victim/Survivor Help Line at 1-877-MADD-HELP (877-623-3435) or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Paul David Troutt||Paul Ray Troutt||Perry Douglas Troutt|
Serving as MADD’s National President, I get the opportunity to attend special events across the country, like the recent Walk Like MADD in Denver, Colorado. It’s one of the largest and most successful Walks— more than $114,000 was raised at this year’s event!
Supporters like the Bachus & Schanker Law firm have stood by us for nine years as the Statewide Sponsor. Mickey Kay, the chair of our state advisory board single-handedly raised more than $7,000 on his own, while his team added another $3,000.
The community support for the 10th annual event was uplifting. Sloan’s Lake Park was filled with tents, games, Pom Cheerleaders from Cherry Creek, hundreds of people, and lots of love. Making the event even more special was the arrival of AirLife Denver, a medical helicopter transport that is always ready when needed. Getting a chance to sit in the chopper was exciting for the kids… and a few adults too.
I was able to spend time at the event with my brother Chris and his family, who live in Denver. We remembered my son Dustin who was killed by a drunk driver. At events like these, my goal is to remember all the victims and survivors, inspire others to help MADD, empower volunteers to continue to raise awareness of the dangers of drunk driving, and to remain committed until there are NO MORE VICTIMS™.
I wish I could attend all of the walks across the country. If I have the chance to come to your state, I hope we meet, talk and give each other a hug. I look forward to listening to your story and hearing why you choose to Walk Like MADD.