Meet Mark and Donna McCain, Honorary Family Chairs for this year's "Walk Like MADD," a fundraiser for the local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)
. The McCains, like many of their volunteers, have a very personal reason to support MADD.
I met Donna and Mark for a conversation outside the Bexar County Courthouse where they were slated to speak to a group of persons convicted of DUI. Although I'd not met them before, I knew Donna right away. As Mark pushed her wheelchair on the sidewalk towards the Courthouse, she cradled a picture of their daughter, Meagan, in her lap. If every pictures tells a story, this is the story of Meagan McCain.
Donna told it like she probably has a hundred times in the year and a half since Meagan's death at age 21--in a car accident involving a drunk driver. With poignant, but firm voice she tells what a wonderful, accomplished, beautiful person their daughter had been. Meagan was an only child and the family very close as they had traveled together the rodeo circuit for many years. Her death took place eight hours away from home when a drunk driver's car crossed an interstate highway median to crash head on into the car in which Meagan was riding. Meagan and the car's driver died at the scene. Three other young women in the vehicle with Meagan sustained varying degrees of injuries.
But, of course, the story doesn't end there. Donna and Mark were both devastated from the loss. Donna eventually contacted MADD because she felt a need to speak about what happened and find someway to counteract losing her child to a drunk driver. Donna told me, "Everyone reacts differently. Mark and I reacted differently. When I finally contacted MADD, they told me our case was different." She explained, "Because the driver also died and we had no court case to see through. We were sad and angry, but with no way to find closure." Now, as representatives of MADD, she and Mark drive in from Poteet several times a month to talk with groups at the Bexar County Courthouse, high schools, or other organizations. Donna and Mark agreed, "Working with MADD is like healing with a purpose. We are planting seeds, actively helping people understand how easily driving under the influence can end so tragically."
The McCains also want you to know MADD isn't just about giving talks or holding walks. MADD supports the San Antonio community in the other following ways:
- They offer support programs to help victims cope with their tragedy and loss of a loved one at no charge.
- MADD provides legal support to victims as they go through the judicial process.
- MADD provides equipment to local police to better detect and arrest drunk drivers.
- MADD actively works with state and local legislators to adopt tougher laws against drunk driving and closing the loopholes in many existing laws.
- MADD implements educational programs to limit access to alcohol among elementary, middle school, high school, and college students.
The McCains also told me something that might get your attention--each DUI offense can cause the defendant from $15,000 to $50,000 depending on prior convictions. But, it's not about the money, it's about life.
So, when you are putting on your red dress or gelling up the 'do--if you are going to a party with drinking, start thinking--how am I getting home safely? It's important! Neither the McCains nor I want any of you to experience first-hand the tragic consequences of an accident that could have been prevented.
On May 14, you are invited to join "Walk Like MADD"
fundraising event of held in San Antonio at Brackenridge Park beginning at 9:00am. The walk raises funds to help MADD continue working to stop drunk driving, support victims of this violent crime and prevent underage drinking.
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