Maintenance window scheduled to begin at February 14th 2200 est. until 0400 est. February 15th


Forgot Password?

    Defense Visual Information Distribution Service Logo

    Heartfelt Appeals and Emotional Loss: Holiday Safety Emphasized

    Heartfelt Appeals and Emotional Loss: Holiday Safety Emphasized

    Photo By Douglas Stutz | Telling like it part of NMRTC Bremerton safety stand down, Dec. 6, 2022, the...... read more read more

    It was on a cold November morning in 2015 that Sue Machacek last saw her husband alive.

    Delyle, or Mac as he was known to everyone, and Sue had known each other for 50 years and been married for 48.

    On Nov. 19, the 71-year old Navy veteran and retired Puget Sound Naval Shipyard worker had stopped in Gorst for his routine morning coffee. As he pulled back out onto Highway 3 at 5:20 a.m., another motorist speeding well above the posted limit slammed into Mac, pinballing him through other traffic.

    The collision(s) killed Mac. The driver who caused the fatality was driving drunk. According to court documents, his blood alcohol limit was approximately three times the legal limit.

    Sue got the tragic news soon after. In a state of stunned shock, she had to tell their two grown children that their dad was killed that morning by a drunk driver.

    She also shared her grief with Navy Medicine Readiness Training Command Bremerton staff as part of their command safety stand down for the holidays, Dec. 6, 2022.

    “Every day I have something to tell my husband, but he’s not there. How do you cope? One day at time,” said a tearful Sue, who made the journey from Houston, Texas to share awareness that drinking and driving is a tragedy waiting to happen. “What I ask is, don’t kill anyone. It took three days for the driver to sober up enough to tell him he killed someone. Please don’t drive drunk.”

    Anguish of personal loss was more than just a central theme of the safety stand down to those in attendance. It starkly rendered what happens when someone decides to drive drunk. Data points and statistical evidence tell part of the story. Having someone sharing their sorrow and suffering was a soulful - and somber - plea to not have it impact them or anyone else.

    Marsha Masters, with the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and Mothers Against Drunk Driving, has addressed many military commands, civic groups and organization, as well as local schools on the perils of drunk driving. Yet she shared a painful memory which still lingers from her days as an Olympic High School teacher in Bremerton.

    “We had a student killed by an impaired driver. Killed on impact. Coming into class, seeing that empty seat and going through the loss was the hardest part of my teaching career,” stated Masters, who got involved in MADD after retiring from teaching to help stop drunk driving and help victims in need.

    “I met lots of nice people through their tragedy, but I hoped that I never had to meet them [under such circumstances],” Masters said.

    A scrolling photo-montage of roadside memorials all caused by drunk drivers in just Kitsap County prompted Masters to share, “Way to many shown here, and that’s not all. I also can probably tell a story about each one, on how it happened, and how it didn’t have to happen.”

    Masters is the Target Zero manager for the Kitsap County Sheriff Office, and explained their goal is to get traffic fatalities down to zero. She attests that the progress made last year has slid in reverse.

    “We were doing well. This year 19 have been killed. We’re going the wrong way. We need to do more,” stressed Masters, noting that across the state over 600 deaths equates to no happy Thanksgiving or happy New Year for a lot of people. “Ninety four percent of those are caused by driver error. Not an accident, but some driver doing something wrong.”

    There were four basic principles which Masters asked the audience to follow.

    Buckle up. “It is the law.”
    Slow down. “The faster you go, the bigger the mess.”
    Pay attention. “The time it takes someone to check their phone and out it down they’ve traveled the length of a football field. A lot can happen during that time.”
    Drive Sober. “Don’t take the change to kill yourself, your passenger or an innocent.”

    “Make a plan and have a plan for someone sober to be a designated driver,” added Jean Hallmark, command safety specialist who helped organize the event. “And a designated driver isn’t the one who has had the least amount to drink.”

    Candy Cardinal of Naval Base Kitsap Sexual Assault Prevention Response shared how the effects of alcohol on interpersonal relationships can increase the possibility of sexual assault.

    “Alcohol can be used as a tool to force someone,” Cardinal said, asking the audience to describe consent and what they would do to active intervention to prevent sexual assault from taking place. “Stand downs like this reaffirm our need to be aware.”

    The command’s Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions invited all junior Sailors to their pizza party the following evening as a way to advertise their organization’s mission to promote making the right decision.

    “Look, every payday Sailors go out drinking. There’s other alternatives besides getting wasted. There’s safer ways to have fun. We got a lot of stuff going on,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Michael S. Collins, CSADD secretary, as he held up his phone and told everyone present to add the command’s Life Line save ride for future reference.

    “Take this number for yourself and others: 360-443-0438.”

    Capt. Patrick Fitzpatrick, Naval Hospital Bremerton director and NMRTC Bremerton commanding officer, thanked Collins and the guest speakers to wrap up the stand down.

    “I added the safe ride phone number and hope everyone else did, too,” said Fitzpatrick. “I was especially moved by what was shared here. It was powerful to hear. Our legacy should be living our life to the fullest. Not by a white cross on the side of the road. Let’s make the right decisions in all that we do.”



    Date Taken: 12.06.2022
    Date Posted: 12.06.2022 21:56
    Story ID: 434651
    Location: BREMERTON, WA, US 

    Web Views: 231
    Downloads: 0