The end of the year approaching gives us a chance to reflect back on what has been an incredible 2019 for MADD South Carolina.  Our fight for victims and against impaired driving was unending, and our capacity is now stronger for an even harder fight in 2020.  Here’s our Top 10 2019 highlights!

1.  The Return of a Lowcountry Walk Like MADD. For the first time since 2013, MADD SC held a Walk Like MADD event in the Charleston area.  Yarborough Applegate was our Presenting Sponsor for this event that exceeded its goal by more than $10,000 and brought together well over 200 people on a very cold November morning!  It was a tremendous relaunch of what we know will be a very successful annual event.

2.  Incredible Volunteers and Board Members. We simply could not do what we do without the amazing volunteers across the state.  Whether it is sharing their victim/survivor stories at Victim Impact Panels, helping plan a Walk Like MADD, doing media interviews, talking to legislators, or providing support to victims, we are fortunate to have a great group of volunteers that adds wonderful new people all the time.  Our Board plays a special role in providing guidance and connections that strengthen all of our work.  In 2020, we’ll be putting in place some exciting new plans for better volunteer recognition and retention to show our appreciation to these champions all over the state.

3.  Stronger Victim Services. Our experienced team of Kelly and Kimberly were an invaluable resource to hundreds of victims/survivors this year.  Of course, it’s not just about numbers; all across the state our Victim Services Specialist became an integral part of the grief journeys for our victims and survivors and gave them invaluable support in their court proceedings.  We wish no new families needed our services, but it is our honor to support every one that does.  We hope that those who are interested in our work are following our Facebook page and blog to see the stories of these incredible families we get to work with each day.

4.  Court Monitoring. In 2019, our court monitoring efforts spread to two new counties, Lexington and Spartanburg, to join our other five counties:  Greenville, Richland, Berkeley, Horry, and Charleston.  We welcomed a new Coastal Court Monitoring Specialist, Chandler, who along with Lakesicha, serving the Upstate and Midlands, monitored well more than 1,000 misdemeanor DUI cases.   We look forward to our next big report release in the spring.

5.  The Push to Strengthen Emma’s Law. Due to a great amount of volunteer energy, partnerships, and legislative leadership, Senate Bill 18 passed the Senate 40-1 in March.  18 expands our state’s Ignition Interlock Device law by requiring IIDs for all convicted offenders and also adds IIDs to those who refuse to provide a breath sample but want driving privileges restored.  Many Senators rallied behind the bill to overcome opposition.  Sadly, we’re not celebrating passage of the bill in 2019 because the House did not give the bill the hearing it deserved.  We call on all our supporters to help us push for House passage early in 2020.

6.  New and Improved Zero Proof Mocktail Mix-Off. In the second year of our Mocktail Mix-Off, we saw an expanded event with many more competitors and activities for kids.  The event received rave reviews again as we moved to a Sunday afternoon and were graciously hosted by the Columbia Fire Department.  There were many great drinks to try, and we congratulate LRADAC for taking home the grand prize!

7.  Amazing Corporate Partnerships. Our work received incredible boosts because of some amazing partnerships and sponsors in 2019.  Among the most noteworthy was HotSpot Convenience Stores, our Upstate Walk sponsor, that also stepped up their game to hold a raffle in their stores for a new car with all proceeds ($28,000+) going to the Walk.  Incredible!  We also thank Yarborough Applegate for sponsoring not one but two Walk Like MADD events (Columbia and Lowcountry)!  We also welcomed new sponsors like the Kenneth Berger Law Firm, Crews Chevy and Crews Subaru, and Doctors Care.  We also thank our loyal returning sponsors like AAA, Molina Healthcare, BlueCross/BlueShield, Auger & Auger Law Firm, Thompson Funeral Homes, and Uber.  Add in some incredible anonymous support, and it was easily our best fundraising year in recent memory by far.  They all share our successes because they give us the resources to be stronger for this fight.

8.  Our Busiest Event Schedule Yet. THREE Walk Like MADD events.  A Mocktail Mix-Off.  A State House Rally Day.  Another touching Hope and Remembrance Vigil.  A Red Cross blood drive.  We not only survived this rigorous schedule but thrived as each event was its own success and helped advance our mission and visibility.  We thank everyone who was a part of one or more of these events across the state!

9.  Continued First Responder Relationships. Whether it was holding our Columbia Walk at the Criminal Justice Academy or the Zero Proof MADD Mocktail Mix-Off at the Columbia Fire Department or thanking our officers at dozens of Law Enforcement Network meetings across the state, we spent more time than ever this year in the presence of our first responder heroes.  In appreciation of their work, we released our new design HERO challenge coins, awarded special recognitions at the state DUI enforcement awards luncheon, made individual recognitions for outstanding support of victims and our mission, and brought victims to their meetings to offer thanks and motivation.  They are a part of almost everything we do because they are so important to our mission and a future of No More Victims.

10.  MADD SC on Facebook. Early in 2019, MADD SC finally arrived on Facebook. We’re proud of the powerful stories we have shared and hope our supporters are enjoying seeing more of our work across the state that is going on each day.  We end the year with almost 1,600 followers.

With all we have accomplished, it only means our plans are even greater for 2020.  We will not stop for a simple reason:  we have not reached the day of No More Victims.

So stay in touch and watch us go.   Even better, get involved and amplify what we can accomplish together!