Blogs by Micki Peluso
No More Roadside Shrines
11/30/2008 8:29:24 PM
This is an article I wrote for my newspaper on DUI and DWI deaths, and my membership with the new MADD group on staten Island
No more roadside shrines
Makeshift memorials are reminder we must put an end to drunken driving once and for allSunday, November 30, 2008 By MICKI PELUSO Staten Island Advance Newspaper
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. --
How tired are we of riding, driving or walking past flowers and wreaths hung on poles and laid by the roadsides? They might be considered pretty, if not serving as reminders of young lost lives to DUI (driving under the influence) accidents and vehicular homicides. These memorials should stand as a warning to further deter these senseless deaths and injuries -- especially to our young on the threshold of a now thwarted future.
But they don't. Drunken driving and drug related deaths continue to rise statistically in direct proportion to the grief of those who have lost loved ones.
I, for one, am tired of this. I lost my own fourteen--year-old daughter to a hit and run drunken driver years ago in an area I'd hoped was a safe haven to raise children.
Sadly, there are no safe places. My nightmare began on a lovely country road in rural Pennsylvania, and twenty-six years later, the scars are not, nor ever will be, fully healed.
My family, including six children, now five, fell apart and suffered alone, each in our own way. I wrote as a catharsis to my intense grief. And wrote. This led to a writing career in which, each year, without fail, a story was published in a newspaper or magazine, in an effort to fullfill a deathbed promise to my lost child.
These stories culminated in the completion of a recently released memoir of her life, printed at the exact hour of her death and released on that date.
Writing it brought my daughter back to life, full of laughter and comical antics, but when I finished it, I lost her all over again. There seems to be no closure with the death of a child.
Something wonderful happened after the release of my book "And the Whippoorwill Sang." At long last and well overdue, Stephanie Faiella, after suffering a DWI loss herself, organized a MADD (Mothers agaist Drunk Driving) group on Staten Island. I knew then what needed to be done -- for my family and myself. We joined immediately.
This new, innovative and rapidly growing group of volunteers, including victims, is making headway with the drunken driving problems of our community.
It has begun by educating our youth. Elementary children will learn of the dangers to their health from alcohol, through posters and talks given by MADD leaders. High School teenagers will be taught by speakers visiting their schools, of the lethal dangers of both drinking and driving.
It will be stressed that they have choices to make in their young lives that will help insure their safety -- choices only they can make. They will hear personal stories and view scenes of the carnage left by DWI accidents, in an effort to remind them that they will be held accountable for their own actions, as well as being affected by those of their friends.
Parents cannot, however hard we try, ever fully compete with peer pressure. Our teens must be made aware of the consequences of their choices. This will not be an easy task, but it will be a priority with the new MADD. The death tolls must stop now!
I have no doubts that this small island of nearly 500,000 people, will be gratefully relieved and willing to cooperate in every way possible to make the selfless work of MADD a reality. The writer, John Donne, wrote, "No man is an island, entire of itself; each man is a piece of the continent . . . .any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. ..."
The general public is being made aware, through fund raisers, meetings, and various events, how to address the problem of keeping our families safe from the death and disabilities of our loved ones.
The MADD organization will also be available to console those who've suffered losses, leading them, through fellowship, to the other side of grief. I wish this had been available to my own family years ago. It is now, and I intend to take full advantage of all this wonderful group of MADD volunteers is willing to offer. As hard as they work, it cannot be a complete success without the help of the entire Staten Island community.
This new MADD group is full of hope and enthusiasm, armed with all the credentials and materials needed to help save lives. There is finally a light at the end of the road -- a road I pray will soon be free of wreaths and flowers.
Micki Peluso is a Staten Islander.
More Blogs by Micki Peluso
The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell - Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Facing my Fear of Public Speaking - Sunday, February 21, 2010
Changing old thought patterns - Saturday, January 16, 2010
The Uneaten meal - Friday, September 11, 2009
I made a speech without picturing anyone nude!! - Saturday, April 04, 2009
A Quirky Meditation Garden - Friday, February 20, 2009
Psycho thriller not to be missed - Monday, February 09, 2009
Editor's review - Thursday, January 08, 2009
TV guest spots and root canal - Sunday, December 07, 2008
No More Roadside Shrines - Sunday, November 30, 2008
Book review from MADDvocate magazine - Thursday, November 27, 2008
Homless for the Holidays - Sunday, November 23, 2008
What's in a Name? - Saturday, November 01, 2008
What's in a Name? - Saturday, November 01, 2008
HOW TO BECOME A MILD-MANNERED REPORTER - Friday, October 31, 2008
Reflections on Motherhood - Sunday, October 19, 2008
Thoughts on writing - Friday, September 26, 2008
A Summer Day - Friday, September 26, 2008
Reflections on Life - Friday, September 26, 2008
THE NEW OLD AGE - Wednesday, September 10, 2008
A MOST UNUSUAL WEDDING - Tuesday, August 26, 2008
THE RETURN OF THE WHIPPOORWILL - Friday, March 21, 2008