Angela Waskawich, right, vice-president of MADD Barrie-Simcoe chapter, unveils a memorial bench in Orillia's Tudhope Park Saturday afternoon alongside Orillia Mayor Angelo Orsi, Kathy Mitchell and OPP constables Brian Higgs and Matt D'Souza, of the Community Mobilization Foot Patrol Strategy.

Families of drunk driving victims now have a dedicated place to remember their loved ones in Orillia’s Tudhope Park.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Barrie-Simcoe unveiled a granite memorial bench along the Millennium Trail Saturday afternoon in memory of all victims of impaired driving.

Kathy Mitchell was in attendance to recognize her niece, Ashley Fogal, of Sharon, Ont., who was killed by a drunk driver on Rama Road Aug. 11, 2011.

“It’s a beautiful spot to just sit and reflect and remember Ashley and other people who have been affected by drunk driving,” Mitchell said Saturday.

Christopher Dubreuil, 29, of Cobourg, pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing the death of Fogal in May 2014.

Tests showed he had between 90 and 130 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood as well as a high level of the sedative lorazepam.

Mitchell hopes the bench reminds the public not to drink, or do drugs and drive.

“I don’t want her death to just be a statistic. I never want her to be forgotten,” Mitchell said. “To bring awareness to the cause is so important because it’s not going away.”

Four people are killed each day in Canada because of impaired driving and 175 are injured daily, said Angela Waskawich, vice-president of MADD Barrie-Simcoe chapter.

Orillia’s bench was installed in partnership with MADD Canada, the City of Orillia and WLC Monuments.

“This here is indeed a special moment to really bring awareness to the cause, bring awareness to MADD and to remember that it’s always something that should be front and centre for everyone,” said Orillia Mayor Angelo Orsi. “We’re so happy to partner with MADD Canada to show that these lives will never be forgotten.”

Waskawich said the project is one year in the making. The local MADD chapter has installed six memorial benches in their region. There is also a bench in Collingwood, Midland, Bradford, Barrie and Innisfil.

“We thought this would be a great way to tie in our communities. So if somebody is a victim and they’re visiting Orillia, or they’re in Collingwood, they’re going to see the same bench and have that continuity and feel again that that’s their family that’s being represented with that bench,” Waskawich said.

Waskawich said the memorial benches are all made out of granite for a reason.

“It’s a headstone,” she said. “The purpose for that obviously is to remind people that drinking and driving does kill.”

The benches are meant to remind the public not to drink and drive. And to choose a ride home before going out drinking.

The benches are also a place where those who have lost loved ones to impaired driving can sit and reflect, Waskawich said.

Bev Hostyn, of Barrie, lost her granddaughter, Kirsta Sandy, 18, to a drunk driver. She was killed in Springwater, Ontario in 2008.

“One thing is that hopefully the victims won’t be forgotten,” Hostyn said. “The other is that others will get the message. Please don’t drive impaired. Plan ahead. Save a life.”

Source: Orillia Packet


Last updated on: 2014-08-29 | Link to this post