Last night, I went to Stillwater with Tom & our friends to speak at a Victim Impact Panel meeting. The Victim Impact Panel is for people who have been arrested for driving under the influence, whether it be of drugs or alcohol. For those of you that do not know, my brother Bill was killed in a drunk driving accident on New Year's 1987. After I graduated from OU last December, I was wanting to do something different, something outside my comfort zone. I knew that years ago, my mom had spoken to panels about drinking and driving and I thought I might be able to do that. God led me to a new friend who does those talks and now I have been doing them for a couple of months. Last night was my 4th one. It is good to be able to talk about my brother. It has helped me deal with feelings that I had not been able to deal with and I hope and pray that I reach someone each time we give a talk. As I look out into the audience, it is pretty easy to see the people who are listening and are affected by what we are saying. Hopefully we plant a seed in each person's mind that next time they drink, they will make a different choice.
This year, my class celebrates our 25th high school reunion. That means that my brother's class will celebrate theirs next year. Bill will never get to go to a class reunion. He will never get to hang out with old friends and reminisce over old times. Instead of being a middle-aged man, Bill is 18 years old. Forever.
For those of you out there reading this: I'm asking you today to make wise choices. If you choose to drink or use any kind of substance, please do not drive. It does not matter if you have had one drink or several drinks, please do not drive. Call a friend. Call a family member. Call a cab. Call me. I will come pick you up. Believe me when I say that I do not want you or your family to go through what my family has gone through. That pain does not go away.