LIMA — Red ribbons will once again be popping up around Allen, Hardin and Putnam counties showing support for sober driving as Mothers Against Drunk Driving and community partners kicked off this year’s Red Ribbon Campaign Wednesday morning.
Pam Styer, MADD Community Action Team coordinator, said the campaign is in well over its 20th year.
“We’ve been around enough that people know what that ribbon represents,” Styer said. “When they see the ribbon, maybe they’ll remember not to drink and drive. It’s very important all year round, but especially during the holiday season, to know how you’re going to get home from a party that you’re going to attend. We want everybody to have a safe and happy holiday season where nobody does end up in an intensive care somewhere or jail or worse.”
MADD was joined by members of the Lima-Allen County Paramedics at Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center, members of the Ohio State Highway Patrol and other law enforcement personnel from the three-county coverage area, as well as Crime Victim Services representatives.
“I think it’s a community effort to try to do this,” explained Brian Anderson, the EMS and Trauma Services Injury Prevention Coordinator for St. Rita’s. “We all in different ways deal with the effects of drunk driving, whether it’s the law enforcement side responding to the accident reports or the EMS side of things like taking care of the injuries and victims. We all have a role to play.”
Anderson explained that the community’s role is to have a plan in place to arrive home safely.
“We see it as a trauma center the importance of always making sure that you have a driver who is not impaired, and that doesn’t mean someone who only had a couple of drinks, that means someone who has had nothing to drink,” he said. “We see the fallout of the trauma, and many times it’s not the impaired driver who experiences the worst fallout, but it’s the passengers, it’s the family in the other car that they hit.”
About 25 years ago, Styer’s daughter and granddaughter’s stationary car was struck by someone driving under a suspended license from a previous DUI.
“I don’t want anybody else to have to go through that, or something worse,” Styer said.
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.