MADD Wellington director at large Lucas Applegarth prepares to release a butterfly at the remembrance ceremony for victims of impaired driving

The image of monarch butterflies as a symbol of peace stood out at a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Wellington ceremony on the grounds of the Wellington County Museum and Archives here last Saturday.

Some 35 butterflies were released by those attending the Sept. 21 ceremony in remembrance of those who have died due to impaired driving accidents.

Two victims in particular were recognized at the ceremony: Katie McNally, who was 21 at the time she was killed by an impaired driver near Palmerston three-and-half years ago, and Alex Rodriques who was killed by a drunk driver several years ago.

MADD director at large Lucas Applegarth read a letter from Alex’s mother, Mary Rodriques, who was unable to attend the ceremony.

“The butterfly is a beautiful symbol of life continuing on after death,” wrote Mary, who lives in Woodstock.

“I have a book for children who have suffered a loss and it’s all about caterpillars and butterflies. In short, when the caterpillar has fulfilled its life on the ground then it buries itself in a cocoon only to transform itself into a beautiful butterfly and begin a new life in a new world full of endless possibilities, leaving behind all its fellow caterpillars.

“When I told this story to my (two) boys nearly five years ago they asked when they were going to be butterflies so they could be with their brother Alex.”

 Rodriques continued, “when you release the butterflies I will think of Katie and Alex and all the other victims who’ve lost their life. I will reflect on the freedom they now have in their new lives and I will celebrate the life and the memories that they have given us. In the meantime I will not forget and I will stay strong because my other two sons need me too.”

She added, “What your chapter is doing on Saturday is the most beautiful celebration I’ve ever seen, paying tribute to and in memory of so many amazing children, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, and everyone else who has been killed in such a tragic way.”

Marco Kennema, president of MADD Wellington, told those attending that impaired driving continues to have an impact across Canada, claiming four lives each day and causing 174 injuries.

“We are here to remember those who are lost and celebrate their lives,” Kennema said. “The butterfly is a beautiful symbol of life.”

He added MADD Canada is expecting one million students across the country to view its multi-media presentation on the impacts of impaired driving.

Source: The Wellington Advertiser


Last updated on: 2013-09-27 | Link to this post