Skip Church, MADD President Colleen Sheehey-Church’s husband offers his perspective on the tragic events and death of their son Dustin. Read below:
While the name of the organization seems to focus on one member of the family unit, “Mothers” Against Drunk Driving has a poignant understanding that this horrible crime effects everyone in the family as well as friends and the community. Dads are in that group. My wife Colleen, the National President of MADD, is always cognizant of the agonizing reach that drunk driving has in our country and shows the compassion and empathy necessary to talk with victims, law enforcement and legislators around the country.
When our son Dustin was killed by a drunk and drugged driver, our lives changed… forever. Family gatherings are always missing someone. There is always an empty chair at Thanksgiving. And still, to this day, 13 years after his death, I stir my coffee each morning with a spoon that Dustin gave me. There is nothing that makes that horrible tragedy better, nothing that makes it go away, nothing that allows us to forget.
Colleen and I had a choice. We could either continue to be victims or try to keep something like this from happening to others. We chose the latter.
Colleen has done remarkable work nationwide, even traveling to Brazil to be a keynote speaker at an international conference. In Connecticut, I’ve worked with the tremendous staff at the state office to change our drunk driving laws. In the last decade, we have transformed the state from one of MADD’s “Fatal 15” into a state that has all offender ignition interlock and dui child endangerment. We give ignition interlock seminars to law enforcement officers and the judicial branch. And we continue to work on other legislation that will tighten the noose around drunk driving.
Will you join us?
Still, Dustin is dead and we are sad. That will never change. So, if I were to give advice, I would tell fathers on this Father’s Day to give their children a big kiss and a hug and at every opportunity to make their kids aware of the dangers of drunk driving. To those fathers who have lost a child, I reach out to you with a hug and ask you to make a difference… change the laws… change the culture… change the future… so that one day there will be NO MORE VICTIMS®.
– William “Skip” Church