Truro Daily News
November 18, 2012
MILLBROOK – Taking a stand against drinking and driving can save lives.
That was the message delivered in Millbrook on Saturday when the annual MADD Red Ribbon campaign was launched. It was the first time the launch was held in a First Nations community in Atlantic Canada.
The campaign’s importance hits home with Millbrook Chief Bob Gloade, who lost a brother to a drunk driver.
“Drinking and driving is not something that should be taken lightly,” he said. “A simple accident could affect the lives of so many people. People die every day because of drinking and driving, and it could be avoided if people were more responsible.”
MADD Cobequid President Amanda Morrisey said that the organization stresses their message this time of year because of the risk of impaired driving connected with holiday events.
“The holidays should be a time to celebrate, not a time of loss,” she said. “The Red Ribbon campaign is designed to heighten awareness. By tying a ribbon on, you’re making a commitment to safe and sober driving.”
According to MADD Canada statistics, there were an estimated 44 total impairment-related crash fatalities in Nova Scotia in 2009. Of those 44, 40 were alcohol-related.
The majority of the alcohol-related fatalities saw 33 people aged 26 or older killed. There were five between the ages of 20 and 25, one between 16 and 19, and one under the age of 16.
Totals for across the nation in 2009 saw 1,052 killed, with 956 being related to alcohol. Two dozen were children, with 102 falling between the 16 and 19 ages, 195 between the ages of 20 and 25, and 635 aged 26 or older.
Peter Gloade, an addictions worker in the First Nations community, said that when Morrisey approached him about holding the launch in Millbrook he was excited.
“As an addictions worker I want to get the message out to people not to drink and drive,” he said. “I know people who’ve been personally affected by it.”
One of the people who has taken his message to heart is his 19-year-old daughter, Leslie Ann.
“Dad’s like a role model to me,” she said. “I listen to his stories about what he went through and I know his message is important.”
As an RCMP officer, Const. Fred Walker continues to see people who continue to drink or use drugs before getting behind the wheel.
He also sees the results of those decisions.
“I’ve seen some horrific things and I’ve done the next-of-kin visits in the middle of the night,” he said. “I’ve had to go to the door at three in the morning to tell a family that someone was dead.”
Anyone who suspects a motorist is impaired is urged to call 911.