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Awareness program gets permanent home

A DWI awareness exhibit in Guilderland found a permanent home for its visually stimulating displays designed to deter drunk drivers and raise awareness about the issue.

The Choices 310 Inc. facility, now named the Beacon of Hope Center, was scheduled to house the exhibit through Dec. 19, but will do so permanently, thanks to Jeff Thomas, owner of the building and founder of WeatherGuard Roofing.

Thomas has donated the building to the program to help raise awareness of the effects of alcohol-impaired driving.

The response from the community has been fantastic, said Ed Frank, the program's organizer.

Frank was thankful for the donation of the building and said he is glad to help give back to the community. "He's giving back to the community and, in a sense, it's a revolving door," he said of Thomas.

Staff Sgt. Leonard Crouch, the administrator of the Albany County Stop-DWI program, said Choices 301 has been a great grassroots partnership.

Crouch said people can be bombarded with information and still make the same mistakes

"No mater how many people read the horrendous stories and look at all those tragediesall those people who still get arrested for DWI," Crouch said. "It has to be a team effort."

Frank, a retired police officer, said he and his wife started the program in honor of their late son, an advocate of safe driving practices. Their son, also a police officer, died of cancer and Frank said the program serves as a reminder of his dedication to the safety of others.

The exhibit focuses on visual stimulation, which Frank said is a more effective way to drive the point home.

"This is a visual society. People don't want to be lectured. I don't want to be lectured," Frank said. "All the things here try to make the juices flow."

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