MADD Celebrates 35th Anniversary by Recognizing Volunteers, Staff, Media and Partners at 2015 National Conference

Mothers Against Drunk Driving presents National President’s Awards, Media Recognition Awards and Partner Recognition Awards


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WASHINGTON, DC (June 6, 2015) – Today, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) concluded their 2015 National Conference celebrating their 35th anniversary. MADD recognized their top volunteers, staff, media and partners who have helped further MADD’s mission to stop drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. 

“We can’t begin to express how incredibly thankful we are for our volunteers, supporters, donors, staff and community partners who work day in and day out with MADD in saving lives and preventing countless injuries due to drunk and drugged driving,” said Debbie Weir, MADD CEO. “Showing our gratitude for their passion and compassion is a top priority.”

The President’s Awards Dinner, hosted by newly appointed MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church took place this evening. Sheehey-Church presented awards to 17 volunteers and staff who have shown outstanding dedication, and have gone above and beyond what was asked of them. 

“I am honored to present these awards to such a selfless and remarkable group of individuals,” Colleen Sheehey-Church, MADD National President. “Often times MADD is considered the lifeline for those who have experienced a violent crime of death or injury due to drunk or drugged driving or underage drinking. But to MADD, these award winners are our lifeblood.”

The 2015 MADD National President’s Award winners are as follows: 

Norris and Aline Skelley from MADD Tennessee received the prestigious Golden Achievement Award, the highest award given to MADD volunteers. This husband and wife team are two extraordinary individuals who have honored their brother’s memory through organizing Candlelight Vigils, speaking at Victim Impact Panels, fundraising for Walk Like MADD® events, advocating for victims and raising awareness in any way possible. 

Maria Esteves from MADD New Jersey earned the Brenda Altman Heart of MADD Award for her service as the chair of the MADD New Jersey State Advisory Board for the past three years and for serving as a volunteer for MADD for more than 23 years after the death of her 8-year-old daughter to a drunk driver. Esteves has provided victim support, advocacy and has served as the principle facilitator for the Victim Impact Panel in the state of New Jersey. 

David and Karen Longstreet from South Carolina were awarded the Chuck Hurley Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® Award for their unwavering efforts to ensure the passage of ignition interlock legislation in South Carolina; “Emma’s Law” which is named after their six-year-old daughter Emma who died after a repeat offender hit their family’s car on New Year’s Day. 

Sergeant Michael Iwai with Oregon State Patrol received the Outstanding Heroes Award – Individual for his dedication to growing Oregon’s Drug Recognition Expert, or DRE, program. Sergeant Iwai was the first certified DRE in his county and has served as an instructor since 2002. 

Roanoke County Police Department, Roanoke, VA won the Outstanding Heroes Award – Agency for their ongoing, proactive approach to impaired driving enforcement; as a result of their dedication, overall arrests are down by more than 30 percent since 2010.

Jaime Esparza from El Paso, Texas received the Outstanding Criminal Justice Award – Prosecutor for his devotion to provide ongoing support to the victims of drunk and drugged driving; and for his initiative to educate community members on Texas’ No Refusal Law. 

Judge Rebecca Simpson from Longview, Texas won the Outstanding Criminal Justice Award – Judge for her assertive and firm approach that ensures that first time drunk driving offenders won’t become repeat offenders; she has less than one percent dismissal rate for all impaired driving offenders. 

Bud Zaouk, Director of Transportation Solutions for QinetiQ North America was presented with the Ralph W. Hingson Research in Practice Award for his work to develop advanced technology, known as the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, or DADSS. The research by this award winner will lead to the eventual ending of drunk driving.  

MADD New Mexico won the Excellence in Diversity Award for their outreach to diverse audiences to serve victims and survivors of drunk driving, drugged driving and underage drinking. MADD New Mexico hosted an advanced victim services training with a focus on Native American court systems; and Power of Youth™ presentations in Spanish through partnerships with local schools. 

Amy Voelker, Patricia Voelker and Ginger Brengle earned the Linda Kitazaki Fundraising Achievement Award – Volunteer for turning the tragedy of losing a father and his three sons into a triumph by raising critical funds to help MADD end drunk driving once and for all. Each of these three family members are awarded for their commitment to Walk Like MADD events in their communities.

Heather Smith from MADD Southeast Texas was presented with the Linda Kitazaki Fundraising Achievement Award – Staff for her leadership in growing both revenue and capacity, and achieving or exceeding all fundraising goals in order to serve more victims and provide additional programs at no charge to the community. 

Phaedra Marriott-Olsen from MADD Tennessee was awarded the Micky Sadoff Award – Underage Drinking Prevention for her passion to prevent underage drinking by speaking to 20,985 students in 31 schools and youth retreats all across the state of Tennessee. 

Alex Otte from MADD Kentucky earned the Youth Activist of the Year Award for her commitment to serving on the MADD National Teen Influencer Group, and her instrumental role in helping Kentucky pass its first ever ignition interlock legislation.

Eric Pitts from MADD National won the Robert C. Shearouse Employee of the Year Award – National Office for his role as the IT Software Support Specialist where he consistently provides outstanding customer service while working to find a solution to any software issue.

Pamela Sell from MADD Arkansas was awarded the Robert C. Shearouse Employee of the Year Award – Field for her initiative in building volunteer capacity, Arkansas’ Victim Impact Panel program and MADD Arkansas as a whole. 

MADD Florida received the Field Entity of the Year Award – State for excelling in all areas of MADD’s mission. MADD Florida has gone above and beyond in serving victims, implementing the Power of Parents™ and Power of Youth™ programs, and exceeding fundraising goals with their Walk Like MADD events. 

MADD West Virginia – Wheeling Chapter was presented with the Field Entity of the Year Award – Volunteer Chapter for their continued growth in reaching the state of West Virginia despite having low capacity with one MADD staff member and dedicated volunteers. 

Also as part of the President’s Awards dinner, MADD honored past National Presidents Karolyn Nunnallee, Millie Webb, Wendy Hamilton, Glynn Birch, Laura Dean Mooney, Jan Withers, and MADD Canada President Angeliki Souranis.

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 Partners. 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 honored, these include: CCAH, OneAmerica, Staples, The Heritage Company, Toyota and US Coachways.

About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is celebrating its 35th anniversary by creating a future of NO MORE VICTIMSTM. MADD is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every ten minutes through local MADD victim advocates and at 1-877-MADD-HELP. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® will end drunk driving through increased law enforcement, all offender ignition interlock laws and advanced vehicle technology. PowerTalk 21® is the national day for parents to talk with their teens about alcohol, using Power of Parents®’ proven approach to reduce underage drinking. Learn more by visiting MADD’s new website at or calling 1-877-ASK-MADD.

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