The Importance of Making Safe Decisions
None 4 Under 21 & Choices Beyond 2016
On Tuesday, April 19, Elk & Elk joined Portage County Safe Communities in presenting the 14th Annual None 4 Under 21 and Choices Beyond Program. Each year nearly 2,000 students from area high schools travel to Hiram College to attend the event. It is held at the start of prom and graduation season to reinforce the importance of making smart decisions behind the wheel.
A realistic crash scene set the tone of the program as students made their way into Paul Martin Fieldhouse. The speakers were introduced by Elk & Elk Partner Marilena DiSilvio, who was invited to emcee the event.
“Although each speaker had a different experience, they are all identical in that the consequences will last forever,” said DiSilvio. “Each incident did not affect just one person, but so many.”
Marc Streem, the first speaker, shared the emotional story of the crash that killed his 14-year-old son, Ryan, almost fifteen years ago. Next, the students heard from Amanda Buxton, who is currently serving four years in prison after she crashed into a tree while driving intoxicated, killing her passenger. The final speaker, Aaron Cooksey, served time in prison and had his license suspended for life after he killed his best friend while driving under the influence. He reflected on the events that led to his decision to get behind the wheel after drinking and the long-term consequences of his actions.
The program concluded with the “Walk of Remembrance.” Eleven area families stood in line to honor their loved one who was killed in a crash caused by impaired or distracted driving.
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Prom and graduation season may be a particularly dangerous time for teens, but impaired and distracted drivers put lives at risk every day. Discussing the consequences of these actions with your family can be difficult, but it is a step that must be taken to protect your loved ones and others on the road.