The MADD Cumberland chapter has recently welcomed Tantramar back into its folds, and that new partnership was officially launched at a brief ceremony last week at Sackville town hall.
“We have indeed come full circle,” said Shelley Pettigrew, president of the newly-formed Cumberland-Tantramar chapter.
Pettigrew said she’s pleased to see the two communities coming together once again on this initiative. She explained that, when the chapter was first formed in 2004, it included both regions at that time and was called MADD Bordertown to convey that fact. The Bordertown chapter was established following the deaths of Raymond Gilroy of Amherst and Meaghan Patterson of Sackville in September 2003, who were both killed in a motor vehicle accident on the highway between Aulac and Sackville involving a drunk driver.
Over the years, however, Tantramar’s involvement had begun to peter off so the chapter reinvented itself as MADD Cumberland.
Susan MacAskill, MADD Canada’s Atlantic services manager, said she’s looking forward to seeing these two partners working together again, noting that the launch event served as a great way to remember and honour Meaghan and Raymond.
“We recognize today, with this ceremony, that we are again extending into the Sackville area and embracing this new start,” said MacAskill.
She also commended the longtime volunteers who have been dedicated to the local chapter – those who have worked tirelessly on the campaigns and remain committed to the cause. At the same time, there is always a need for more volunteers, said MacAskill, and she hopes that Tantramar area residents will step up and be a part of MADD Cumberland-Tantramar.
“We’re looking forward to future opportunities for public awareness, project red ribbon events, police checkpoints, and the continued promotion of Campaign 911,” she said.
Sackville Mayor John Higham was also on-hand for the launch and encouraged residents to sign up as volunteers and join in the fight against impaired driving.
“Now that it’s here again, if there are people interested in this, please get in touch with them because they want to continue their fine efforts and they could use some more volunteers from our area.”
Higham pointed out that, although the overall rate of drunk driving has been going down over the years of MADD Canada’s existence, “it’s still far too high.”
“Even one loss is too much . . . and there’s still a lot of work to get done.”
The chapter organizes a number of public awareness and education events such as the MADD road rally, project red ribbon, and other campaigns to reach out to the public about the dangers of impaired driving and how they can help improve safety on roads, waterways and trails
Memramcook-Tantramar MLA Bernard LeBlanc applauded the formation of this new chapter, saying it’s great news for the region.
He said the New Brunswick government is committed to taking action on this issue and introduced tougher measures in Dec. 2015 to combat drinking and driving. Once those measures are fully legislated, it will position the province as one of the toughest opponents in the fight against impaired driving, said LeBlanc.
“We understand the devastating effect impaired driving has on families and we support measures to help deter this unacceptable practice.”