Thirty-five years after a grieving mother started one of the most influential and effective grassroots movements in history, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) announces its new National President, Colleen Sheehey-Church, the first victim of drugged driving to serve as MADD’s National President, effective January 1, 2015. Sheehey-Church joined MADD in 2005, a year after her 18-year-old son, Dustin, drowned after the car he was riding in, driven by a teen with alcohol and drugs in her system, crashed into a river, trapping Dustin in the vehicle.
“No one ever dreams about becoming MADD’s National President, because it means that you have suffered the most unimaginable pain of a death or injury due to the preventable crime of drunk or drugged driving,” says Sheehey-Church. “I was drowning in grief after I lost my son, until I called MADD. I only wished I had called sooner. I’m honored and humbled to represent the victims we couldn’t save, stand alongside those we have and advocate to keep innocent lives safe on our nation’s roadways.”
With approval by MADD’s National Board of Directors, MADD has formally added “drugged driving” to its mission statement, which now reads: “MADD’s mission is to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking.”
“Expanding the mission to include the fight against drugged driving is the right thing to do and the 35th anniversary is the right time to do it. It’s a growing problem and MADD can give drugged driving victims a voice and support law enforcement efforts to get drugged drivers off the roads,” says Bill Windsor, Chair, MADD National Board of Directors. “MADD has long provided free services to drugged driving victims and will continue to do so.”
MADD’s 35th anniversary marks the launch of a new national tagline, “NO MORE VICTIMS™,” the first-ever tagline used by the organization. The tagline describes the highest calling of the organization and applies to all of its mission prongs.
“What drives our passionate and compassionate volunteers and staff is creating a future of no more victims, from drunk driving, drugged driving and underage drinking consequences. That’s why we were founded in 1980; it’s why we exist today; and it will be our legacy,” adds Sheehey-Church.
Prior to joining MADD, Sheehey-Church worked as a senior sales and training consultant for more than 35 years, serving as director at several companies including GP Strategies, Allen Communications, FranklinCovey and AT&T. She holds a Bachelor of Science in business management from the University of Phoenix and is pursuing a Master’s degree in counseling and psychology from Liberty University. Sheehey-Church resides in Madison, Connecticut with her husband, Skip. Their son, Casey, lives in New Hampshire.
This year also signals the launch of MADD’s national strategic plan, a five-year agenda outlining seven goals, including reaching and serving more victims; accelerating progress on the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®; and seeing a 25% decrease in drunk driving fatalities. In 2013, drunk driving deaths again topped 10,000.
“While drugged driving must be fought, drunk driving can be stopped. And MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving will do just that,” adds Debbie Weir, MADD CEO. “Drunk driving is an urgent, relevant issue as it remains the number one traffic safety threat on the nation’s roadways. But not forever. The end is in sight; it’s within our reach. We can end drunk driving in our lifetime.”
Visit MADD’s new website at madd.org for more information.
About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is celebrating its 35th anniversary by creating a future of NO MORE VICTIMS™. MADD is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every ten minutes through local MADD victim advocates and at 1-877-MADD-HELP. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® will end drunk driving through increased law enforcement, all offender ignition interlock laws and advanced vehicle technology. PowerTalk 21® is the national day for parents to talk with their teens about alcohol, using Power of Parents®’ proven approach to reduce underage drinking. Learn more by visiting MADD’s new website at madd.org or calling 1-877-ASK-MADD.