NEWS | May 4, 2016

MADD presentation at JB Charleston, preps for 101 Critical Days of Summer

By Senior Airman Clayton Cupit 628th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

In preparations for the 101 Critical Days of Summer, Kimberly Cockrell, a victim services specialist from Mothers Against Drunk Driving delivered presentations to Joint Base Charleston personnel April 27, 2016, at Joint Base Charleston, S.C.

Briefings were held at the air base theater and the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command to reach as many Sailors and Airmen as possible on base.

Cockrell began her presentation giving her reasons for volunteering.

"In 1993, my best friend was killed by a drunk driver in Columbia, S.C.," said Cockrell. "She was only 22 years old and we had been friends forever. It was at that point I started volunteering with MADD. I was living in Los Angeles at the time and helped out there. I have given speeches on talk shows, on television, in police departments and in schools. My life took a huge turn after she was killed."

During the presentation, Cockrell showed pictures of her friend's face before the accident as well as the graphic scene of the accident.

"I thought it was an effective presentation," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Asahee Millis, nuclear electronics technician. "As nukes, we usually see a lot of the statistics and data, so seeing the emotional and human component really brings it into effect. It resonates more and I appreciate that."

Some students were able to relate personal experiences to the presentation.

"I heard a heartfelt story about a woman who has been hurt," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Kristel Nichols, nuclear electronics technician. "It really helped to bring home a message that it is never okay to drink and drive.  I think it has helped a lot of students here who may be questioning ever drinking and driving."

"Before the Navy, I was a paramedic," said Nichols. "I have seen the effects of drunk driving firsthand so I never want to encounter that myself or even think of the possibility of doing that to someone else. I would never wish upon anyone the emotional effects of what it does to a community and a family. It's a huge loss not only in that family but to everyone around them."

As part of the 101 Critical Days of Summer campaign, this event was a segue to the 2016 campaign.

"This MADD event gives our members an idea of what type of information is to come," said Christopher Anderson, 628th Air Base Wing director of safety. "MADD ties into our Critical Days of Summer plan by focusing on destructive behaviors such as DUIs and how they affect you, your family, friends, coworkers and community."

The safety office uses different strategies to combat drunk driving and spreading information to base personnel.

"To promote reducing DUIs, we place wrecked vehicles and related DUI signs at strategic locations on the Air Base and Weapons Station, typically around major holidays," said Anderson.

"We also hold events such as MADD, Street Smarts classes, and provide briefings for units to utilize at commander's calls," said Anderson. "Critical Days of Summer is a time for all personnel to focus efforts on behaviors which can reduce or eliminate risk or hazards at work and home, as it is during this time of year historically where we experience the most mishaps."

Cockrell spoke about her involvement with the armed forces and ended on her passion for the service members.

"I'm not really from a military family so to speak," said Cockrell. "Only my grandfather was in the U.S. Navy. But I've grown up with a profound love, affection and astonishment when it comes to our armed forces service members."

"I was very pleased to be invited to come down and talk with these service members and I'm glad I had this opportunity," said Cockrell. "If I had just changed even one person's decision making when it comes to drinking and driving then this has been success."