A campaign against drunk driving based in Calgary has made its way to Prince Albert.

The Empty Shoe Campaign was started to create awareness about Brandon Thomas, who was killed by a drunk driver in 2012 at the age of 17.

The driver, Ryan Gibson has been sentenced to serve 32 months, but he is appealing the sentence.

At the courthouse, Thomas’ mother wants to display a pair of shoes for each person killed by drunk driving in Canada every year.

Sage Clarke works at Frontrunner Footwear in Prince Albert and said when they heard about the campaign they immediately wanted to get involved.

“Myself, I’ve lost a lot of people to drunk driving and it’s affected so many people in the community also…and so many of the sentences that affected our lives, it’s been ridiculous, like they haven’t got any time at all really. So I just wanted to try and make a difference, like be a part of this and kind of have an impact,” she said.

Clarke said she thinks it will be an effective way of making people understand exactly how many people are killed by drunk driving every year.

“I think the empty shoes, especially like they’ll be kid’s shoes and baby shoes too, kind of making people realize that people have lost their lives to this, and it’s a lot more people than people would probably think,” she said.

Sandy Hislop Forrest, on the right drops off a donation

Sandy Hislop Forrest donated a bag of shoes to the campaign. She said her son was in a car accident 19 years ago, when he was 18, which left him with severe brain injuries. The three other passengers in his vehicle were killed; they were hit by a drunk driver. 

“This (campaign) is very near and dear to my heart,” said Hislop Forrest.

She said hearing about the Thomas case is difficult.

“It just brings it all back and it’s just so senseless, it doesn’t have to be like that,” said Hislop Forrest, who mentioned getting a designated driver and having a plan for drinking safely.

“I really hope that the impact of all these shoes will show that there’s 1,875 in Canada have been killed (every year), that they’ll be some impact. There’s got to be consequences for their actions, for the family that suffers, there has to be consequences,” she said.

Hislop Forrest said she believes the person who hit her son didn’t receive a harsh enough sentence. Although the campaign might not affect the outcome of the Thomas case, she said she has high hopes for the future. 

“I’m hoping that down the road they’ll be some eyes open, that this just isn’t fair,” she said.

If anyone in the community wants to help out, Clarke said they can come by the store, at 650 13 Street East, and drop off pairs of shoes at any time.

After the shoes are taken to Calgary, all those deemed wearable will be donated to charity.

On the Facebook page R.I.P. Brandon Thomas, Thomas’ mother posted that they are hoping to collect a total of 1,875, as on average, five people are killed a day by drunk drivers in Canada. So far, she wrote that they have 900 pairs of shoes. The campaign ends on June 10.

Source: Prince Albert Now


Last updated on: 2014-09-18 | Link to this post