Kim Thomas plans to use empty shoes to make a big statement against impaired driving.

Thomas, whose 17-year-old son Brandon was killed by a drunk driver in 2012, is collecting shoes to help illustrate the most severe consequence of impaired driving.

She’s hoping to gather 1,825 pairs of shoes to display at the Calgary Courts Centre on June 14, to represent an estimated number of lives claimed by impaired drivers in Canada annually.

“We want to have a visual,” said Thomas of the Empty Shoes campaign. “This is how many innocent people are dying because other people choose to drink and drive.”

Thomas said she saw a picture of a similar display in B.C. that was “crushing.”

“All these people should be here to wear their shoes.”

A petition organized by the group Families for Justice will be available for signing at the June 14 event, said Thomas.

The petition, which has some 63,000 signatures so far, calls for a minimum mandatory sentence of five years for people convicted of impaired driving causing death.

The group also wants the name of the charge changed to “vehicular manslaughter.”

On May 12, Ryan Gibson was handed a 32-month sentence in relation to the crash that killed Thomas’ son and later that week his lawyer filed a notice of appeal.

Thomas said the Empty Shoes campaign has two goals.

“One hope is that people stop deciding they should or can drink and drive. The other hope is it will send a powerful message to the government to enforce minimum mandatory sentencing.”

So far, Thomas has collected about 600 pairs of shoes, including about 100 from a Lethbridge woman supporting the cause.

Anyone looking to donate shoes can drop them at 12 West Kerfoot Pl. in Cochrane, in Coach Hill (contact Heather at 587-216-7629 for address) and 28 Erin Meadows Court S.E. (contact Stacy 403-389-9761).

June 13 is the deadline.

Shoes in good condition will be donated to charity afterward.

Further information is available at

Source: The Calgary Sun


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