Some speakers at Choices 301 have been there since the beginning. Others have come and gone. It is an amazing place with an amazing message. “You are the choices you make.” I reiterate the message many times. When I speak, I tell of my daughter’s accident, the day of the accident and how our family has continued on. Some days are harder than others to speak. A speaker could be an alcoholic, a former drug user, an inmate at the county jail, a policeman, a victim of drunk driving or a family member.
I have listened to a man named Dean who has been through the system because of drugs. He has bounced back and now works with the system to help others. Kids relate to him as he is from a small, local community and tells it like it is. There’s no holding back for Dean. I have listened to a woman named Linda who lost her daughter over 20 years ago when she was hit by a drunk driver. Linda expresses her sadness at how much her daughter is missed and how much she did not get to accomplish. I have listened to Ed Biittig tell his story of being an alcoholic and what it did to him and his family. I have listened to an inmate who is in jail from a drunken driving charge and hasn’t seen his kids in months. I have listened to a man in a wheelchair that lost his legs in an accident when he was hit by a drunk driver. I have seen State Troopers come with a rollover vehicle to simulate what happens in an accident when you don’t have your seatbelt on.
To some people, this may seem brutal to present to groups of high school teenagers. But today’s teens have seen much more than many of us have just by watching television, or viewing things on the Internet. It’s an “in-your-face” approach but it gets their attention. It’s reality. Ed asks us all whether we want to continue to speak, as to whether we think we’re doing the right thing by showing them the pictures and letting them listen. They need to see this from a reality point – not from a television show that makes it look neat and clean.
There are many hands in the molding of Choices 301 but Ed Frank is the artist. He had the vision and he and his wife, Shirley, continue to press on each day to bring their safety message to others. I encourage you to visit www.choices301.com to see what a message of safety looks like.