Archive for January, 2011

January 25th, a date set in my head for years now.  More specifically, January 25th, 2002 in New Mexico where four Nebraskan’s lost their lives to a nine time repeat offender.  January was a rough month with multiple fatalties here in Nebraska and 2002 ended up being one of the toughest years for alcohol-related crashes with a total of 115 deaths due to an alcohol-related crash and that is just in our state.

I can still remember traveling to New Mexico to be an advocate in the courtroom, for both families,  providing support and a strong shoulder as each family read their victim impact statements, in federal court, about how their loved ones would be forever missed. 

Dale, Jim and Jerry soon became strong supporters of MADD, active at the community and state level and to this day I feel very fortuante to count them as a friend of MADD.  The Beller family has been a strong advocate for mandatory ignition interlock legislation. They first worked with Governor Richardson in New Mexico.  New Mexico was the first to mandate ignition interlock and  over the last few years we have had data supporting that “offenders while on ignition interlock do not re-offend 95% of the time”.

Nebraska does have an ignition interlock law but LB 625 offers a means to mandate for all offenders at .08 and above.  MADD strongly supports this action as a means to ensure every offender is held accountable, pays for his/her crime and ignition interlock ensures public safety.

Today, in memory of the Bellers and the Ramaekers I want to urge you to fight for your fellow Nebraskans and write your state senator to support LB 625, introduced by State Senator Tony Fulton.

In this day and age, it takes but five minutes to e-mail a note to your senator.  The state senators need to know that we care about our loved ones and we want every family member to arrive home from the day to share the next day ahead.  With your voice MADD can strive to meet the goals set in our Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving.

All of us to should look to those impacted by drunk driving and say enough is enough, there is a better way and for the sake of our families we must be willing to encourge our policy makers to hold those that make the choice to drive drunk accountable.

If you or someone you know has been impacted by an alcohol-related crash please know that MADD is here to support you through the court process and the years ahead. 24 hour hotline: 877-623-3435


In May 2000, the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) published “Characteristics of Child Passenger deaths and injuries involving Drinking Drivers.”  The study found that two-thirds of all children ages 14 and under that were killed in an alcohol-related crash were in fact riding with a drinking driver old enough to be the parent, caregiver or guardian.

 Protecting children is a value Nebraskans cherish. Yet, despite the fact drunk driving is a violent crime, driving while impaired with children riding in the vehicle is not a commonly acknowledged form of child endangerment or child abuse in our state.  No child should have to choose to ride with an impaired driver.  However, minor children have little choice when the driver is the parent or other adult caregiver.

 Child endangerment laws protect innocent children from child abusers, not only those who are physically or emotionally abusive, but those who victimize a child by driving over the legal limit (.08 BAC). An impaired driver makes the choice to drink and drive. The child has no voice and no choice when it comes to riding with the parent or adult caregiver.

It is clear that innocent children who count on parents and caregivers to protect them from danger are in fact being placed at risk when riding with an adult over the legal limit.  MADD supports LB 625, making driving with a child (15 and under) when the adult is over the legal limit (.08 BAC) a felony offense.

 MADD knows we can make a difference in the lives of children, our most precious cargo, who are endangered by impaired drivers.  Write your state senator and support LB 625, as introduced by State Senator Tony Fulton or LB 667, introduced by Speaker Flood both versions contain a child endangerment while intoxicated provision.

MADD stands strong on the felony offense.  MADD implores everyone to make a difference in the lives of children who cannot protect themselves.

What Is Resilience?

Resilience is the power to cope with adversity and adapt to challenges or change. It is a process of drawing on beliefs, behaviors, skills, and attitudes to move beyond stress, trauma, or tragedy. Although naturally stronger in some personalities, it can also be learned. Resilient people have a range of strengths such as optimism, self-knowledge, personal meaning , and the ability to foster relationships and care for themselves and others. By mobilizing these powers, they confront life’s obstacles and emerge with greater wisdom, flexibility, and strength.

Here at MADD, we strive to support those impacted by drunk driving and our hearts are full of sorrow when any sudden loss takes place in the community. 

Why Resilience Matters 

Life doesn’t always go the way we wish or expect.  Problems arise in the family, the workplace, and the neighborhood.  Relationships end, children leave home, we lose our job, we get sick, or a loved one dies.  Things change, and there’s so much we can’t control, particularly after September 11, 2001.  We can no longer expect to feel secure.  But most of us do successfully adjust to changes in our lives.  How do we do it?  

The ability to adapt to challenges and change is known as resilience.  Think of resilience as elasticity or flexibility. Resilience is not rare.  It is more like “ordinary magic” because everyone is resilient in some ways.  And whenever you recover from a setback and get better at coping with life’s difficulties, you become even more resilient. 

Being resilient doesn’t mean that you stop having problems or are not affected by difficulties.  It doesn’t mean you are not sad when a relationship ends or that you are not worried about your family’s physical and financial well-being.  It doesn’t mean having answers to all of life’s problems.  Being resilient means finding ways to cope with problems that arise, taking care of yourself and those around you, and emerging stronger than before.  

  Tragic events are tough on our community life.  When you focus on resilience, you can see how strong you already are and can become even stronger-to successfully navigate whatever life brings your way.  Just as emergency instructions on airplanes tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before assisting others, recognizing how to be resilient makes you better able to help your children, spouse, partner, coworkers, neighbors, and community lead fuller, more productive, and truly joyous lives.