It’s an event highlighting a continuing problem in Michigan and across the country.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) hosted an event at the Flint Farmer’s Market.
The goal was to address driving under the influence.
Ornaments of precious loved ones hang on a tree, each one depicting a person either affected by or lost to drunk or drugged driving.
“It seems like it’s common sense but people still don’t get it,” said Jeanette Hildrith, a MADD volunteer.
Hildrith said it’s a reality that she knows all too well.
Her nephew, Jason, was killed after he got into a car with someone under the influence.
Hildrith and several others are not only spreading the word, but advocating for stronger traffic laws against drunk and drugged driving.
“MADD across the country has been able to lower fatalities but if there’s one fatality a year, it’s one too many,” Hildrith said.
Which is why the Genesee County Chapter of MADD hosted an awareness event, where families can come and hang a card with the names of their loved ones on a remembrance tree.
If you or someone you know has been affected by or lost someone to drunk driving, MADD is offering support.
“We had some special people that would call because a family or friend and we would try to help find them local resources that they can link in to,” said Branden Coleman, a MADD victim service specialist in Mid-Michigan.
Coleman said MADD’s mission goes beyond raising awareness.
They also provide case management assistance, raise funding for victims’ families, and even take concerned citizen calls.
All of which, Hildrith said gets them closer to preventing alcohol and drug-related deaths on the road.
“We are! We are, we keep trying. It’s a small group, but it’s a passionate group. So please join us,” Hildrith said.
MADD was created by the mother of a 13-year-old girl hit and killed by a drunk driver in 1980.
The non-profit organization said 271 people died in alcohol or drug-related crashes last year in Michigan alone, 12 of those happening in Genesee County.
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