To say this has been an unprecedented year is an understatement. The global pandemic has dramatically changed how we live, work, and socialize. At MADD Tennessee, we have had to alter our programming to offer online Victim Impact Panel classes and provide Power of You(th) and Power of Parents presentations, as well as Victim Support Groups, by Zoom. We also had to convert both the East and West Tennessee Walk Like MADD to 100% Virtual events and the Middle Tennessee Walk Like MADD to a combination Drive-Thru/Virtual event.
As we began to prepare for our Annual MADD Tennessee Statewide Night of Remembrance and Awards Ceremony, which is typically held in December and attended by almost 450 people, it was clear that the beautiful, sit-down dinner we normally host, would not be possible. This memorable event ordinarily includes a candlelight vigil to remember those who have been killed or injured due to impaired driving or underage drinking, along with an awards ceremony where we honor close to 150 law enforcement heroes for their efforts to stop impaired driving. This event has come to mean so much to both, our victims as they remember lost loved ones and get to personally thank those who put their lives on the line to stop other families from experiencing their pain, and to our law enforcement partners who are reminded of why they do what they do and are inspired to keep up the fight.
The feedback we have received from our Tennessee law enforcement community is that a virtual event could not compare to what they experience at our in-person event and that they would prefer to delay our celebration of their efforts until the 2021 event. We understand and agree. For this reason, we have decided to cancel the 2020 Night of Remembrance and Awards Ceremony. But… that will NOT mean that we “skip” a year of honoring our heroes or remembering our victims. It WILL look different. Here’s how:
- We will host a 2020 MADD Tennessee Statewide Virtual Candlelight Vigil in December of 2020 to be aired on Facebook Live. (Date TBD.) It will include our Electronic Victim Board typically shared at the live event, as well as a 2020 Fallen Officer tribute.
- Our 2021 Night of Remembrance and Awards Ceremony will recognize officers, deputies, and troopers for DUI Enforcement separately for, both 2019 and 2020. (An officer earning a DUI Enforcement award for 2019 and again for 2020 will receive two pins and two plaques at the 2021 event.)
- Our 2021 Night of Remembrance and Awards Ceremony will invite nominations for all Specialty Awards (Outstanding Service, Outstanding Department, Tennessee Excellence, Power of You(th), Legislator of the Year, Golden Achievement, and Power of Community awards) to include activity, service, and efforts for a TWO-YEAR period including 2020 and 2021. One award will be given in each category taking into consideration what the candidate has done to satisfy the criteria for the award in both years.
While we are disappointed we won’t see you in person this year, we are confident these changes will allow us to adequately honor our award winners in a way that we believe is fitting of their achievements and still provide an opportunity to take the time we feel is important this year, to honor and remember our victims and survivors of impaired driving and underage drinking.
We thank you, in advance, for your support and look forward to seeing you in 2021!