Drinking and driving is a decision that can be made in a moment. It can also end a life in a heartbeat.
On Thursday, the Pennsylvania DUI Association brought its Moving Memorial to State College to drive that message home.
The memorial includes names of about 2,000 victims who died in alcohol-fueled crashes.
Ferguson Township Sgt. Ryan Hendrick is the Centre County Alcohol Task Force coordinator.
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He said bringing in the memorial was important “to bring attention and awareness to the grave effects of driving while impaired.”
An initiative of the Pennsylvania DUI Association, the trailer features a 25-foot wall with the names of DUI victims who have been honored in the association’s memorial garden in Harrisburg.
Evelyn McKee, of Milesburg, is a member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. She didn’t need to learn how drunk driving can affect a family. She knows.
“I have a brother that his name is on the memorial wall,” she said.
Chris Wilson’s name is etched in black against the pale wall. “When they are in town, I usually come up to see that.”
The memorial arrived just days before the Penn State student-created drinking holiday, State Patty’s Day, which will have many area students intoxicated but also draws many more from other towns and colleges.
“We would just like to take this opportunity to remind people to drive responsible and act responsible,” Hendrick said.
“There are so many names on that wall and that doesn’t begin to cover most of them,” McKee said. “Every name on that wall has a story.”