Kim Thomas, mother of Brandon Thomas, the 17-year-old whose life was ended by drunk driver Ryan Gibson on Dec. 6, 2012, continues her quest with Families for Justice to appeal to the government for stricter penalties for drunk drivers who take lives.

Devastated by Gibson’s decision to appeal the sentence of two years and eight months behind bars, Kim and Families for Justice, with the help of members of the Cochrane community, are fighting back through a grassroots demonstration slated to take place in front of the Calgary Court House June 14.

The ‘empty shoe demonstration’ is seeking to collect 1,875 pairs of shoes to represent and honour the average number of lives ended by drunk driving every year across Canada.

“It’s a slap in the face to us, to Brandon’s life and the way he died,” said Kim, with respect to the appeal and the notion that serving six months behind bars is not acceptable for Gibson.

“What is it going to take for the government to listen?”

Families for Justice is made up of more than 40 families whose lives have been impacted by impaired drivers, banding together to petition the federal government to seek stricter penalties for drunk drivers who take lives.

Their petition began more than three years ago and has garnered over 63,000 signatures so far.

“An average of four to six people are killed every day by impaired drivers and 167 are injured every day,” she said, explaining that they used the average of five casualties per day to come up with the figure of 1875. “This is preventable…$84.4 billion of tax money goes toward impaired driving every year — so if you think it doesn’t affect you, it does.”

Kim, who has been largely spreading the word about the empty shoe demonstration through Facebook, has around 300 pairs of shoes in her garage so far. Anyone who has pairs to spare is encouraged to drop them off at Kim’s house, #12 West Kerfoot Place; the shoes may be placed in bags and left in the garage or next to it.

Cochranites can also drop shoes off at Great Things in Store.

“We’re inviting everyone to come down to the event. If you’ve lost someone or have been impacted by our story or by someone else’s story, please join us,” said Kim, adding that the event will run from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Kim said that following the Calgary demonstration they are looking to stage a second demonstration in front of the Cochrane Provincial Courthouse; she is hoping to have all donations by June 12.

All shoes will then be donated to the Mustard Seed and other non-profit organizations.

“I’m proud my children grew up here and the support the town has shown for Brandon and our family…it never stops.”

According to the Facebook group ‘R.I.P. Brandon Thomas’, a number of local dignitaries, including Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi, have been invited to the June 14 event.

The Calgary Provincial Courthouse is located at 601 5th St. S.W.

Source: The Cochrane Eagle


Last updated on: 2014-06-17 | Link to this post