FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The lights were dimmed and the mood was dark at Dahl Gym, March 29. The National Save a Life Tour had stopped by Fort Bragg to give soldiers a better idea about the dangers of drinking and driving. With graphic images of automobile and motorcycle crashes and emotionally-charged videos of friends and families who had lost loved ones, this was one presentation that cut straight to the heart.
“The primary impact of an event like this is a reality check,” said Tanya Herlihy, assistant officer-in-charge of the birthing unit at Womack Army Medical Center. “Events like these give children and younger soldiers a reality check that they aren’t invincible and that drunk driving doesn’t just affect the driver, but the families of other people as well, families they may not know,” she said.
The Save a Life Tour is dedicated to promoting drunk driving awareness, whether civilian or soldier, enlisted or officer, drunk driving can end one’s career and life very quickly.
“This program really helps give younger soldiers a realistic idea of the impact of drunk driving through pictures and presentations,” Sgt. Luis I. Macias of the 403rd Cargo Transfer Company. “The presenters themselves were great as well. I think they had a strong impact on the soldiers because of their personal experiences,” he said.
Many soldiers attended the Save a Life Tour. However, many of those with young adolescent children, expressed a wish to return for the afternoon portion with their kids.
“I think events like this are the proverbial slap in the face to kids,” said Sgt. 1st Class Augustin A. Vignart, 82nd Sustainment Brigade, S-3 operations non-commissioned officer-in-charge. “Kids get preached to by their parents every day. But once you introduce a third party and have him explain what happened to him while throwing graphic images up behind him; it definitely got the message across to my children,” he said.
As the Army has always taken a hard stance against driving while intoxicated, events such as the Save a Life Tour can help make soldiers more aware of the impact drunk driving has on the individual and families of others.
“I think that events like these are very needed for our military community,” said Herlihy. “Often they are moving all over and don’t have sustained areas so this kind of training that’s offered, especially for the military and military families, is a great asset to us,” she said.
With the success of the Save a Life Tour, plans are under way to bring the tour back to Fort Bragg in June so that parents will have an opportunity to bring their children to this eye-opening event.