I remember this day every day of my life… July 25th, 2008.
I stood there in utter shock when the Captain from RS Albany was in my living room telling me the accident I had hours before took a man’s life. There are few things from that day I remember clearly and that moment is one I’ll never forget. I drove drunk and took a man’s life. How could I have ever have done something so awful? I wish I could wake up on that morning again and make different decisions. Some days I’m still in disbelief.
There are no excuses and no apologies that can ever make up for causing a fatal accident while under the influence of alcohol. A family will mourn on this day forever and I mourn along with them. The pain I caused lives with me always. In a million years I could have never imagined being the cause of a terrible tragedy. I can only use what I have learned and try to influence others to not drive drunk. I never want another human to find out what it feels like to wake up and learn that your actions took a life.
I know I cannot change the past. Although, I can make a difference in the future. I’ve told the story of his death and the aftermath of my choices more times than I can count. I have been an advocate against drunk driving since 2010 while I was still incarcerated and have continued speaking about it since I regained my freedom. It’s the only way I know how to make sure others don’t follow in my footsteps.
This year I have been blessed to encourage others to not drive drunk in a different way. My brother and I started STERR to be able to spread drunk driving awareness on a larger scale. We have a vision of reaching as many people around this country telling our story and battles with alcohol together to help save lives. I have the opportunity to make sure his life is never forgotten through this kind of advocacy and that makes this year one of progress and positive change.
I am sharing this post with a video from our first official STERR speaking event that took place this past May in Highland Park, NJ. Please take the time to watch and share this. (Our talk starts at 27:57.) We can help save lives together. Honoring and remembering TJK today and every day.