MADD's 'Light of Hope' event Dec. 2
MADD Chapter will host its 22nd annual “A Light of Hope Ceremony” at 6 p.m. at the Lamp Post event center on Main Street in Franklin on Dec. 2.
The ceremony will feature a time of remembrance for victims of drunk/drugged driving crashes. Members of MADD recognize that there are, unfortunately, many families in St. Mary Parish who have had the course of their life changed forever by an impaired driver, and issued this invitation to all to attend and light a candle in memory or honor.
MADD has had a presence in St. Mary Parish since 1995 when former Baldwin Police Chief Gerald Minor and Greg Ibert issued a call for an organizational meeting to charter a MADD Chapter.
The call was answered by many, as Minor anticipated, due to the large number of alcohol related fatalities on St. Mary Parish roads and highways. He, along with members Delores and Noel Norton, spent months completing the necessary paperwork to charter the parish chapter. Once completed, the group set about promoting awareness of drunk driving and offering prevention information.
Judge Ed Leonard played a pivotal role in the local chapter’s success when he urged members to provide a service to the courts by hosting Victim Impact Panels for DWI offenders. MADD members received the required training and began offering the monthly panel sessions. To date, over 2,000 DWI offenders have been court ordered to attend a Victim Impact Panel session. Just as the name implies, MADD Chapter members, who are victims, share their personal testimony of how a crash impacted and changed their life forever.
Guest speaker for this year’s “A Light of Hope” ceremony is Sheriff Blaise Smith. Local MADD Chapter member, Jacki Ackel, said that in observance of the group’s 22nd anniversary celebration, the group will recognize Sheriff Blaise Smith, a lifelong resident of Franklin, who eagerly agreed to speak and share his insight as the sheriff.
The ceremony will also feature naming the “Top Cops” of St. Mary Parish, those officers from both the parish and local agencies as well as Troop I which has been diligent and vigilant in removing impaired drivers.
The public is invited to attend the ceremony. A meal is being donated by the Sheriff Department and Franklin Lodge #57. Arrive as early as 5 p.m.to be served