MADD unveils memorial bench

MADD Prince Albert has installed this memorial bench along the Rotary Trail. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

Prince Albert’s local MADD chapter is hoping a new memorial bench will help encourage residents to stop and reflect on their role in preventing impaired driving.

The memorial bench was installed along the Rotary Trail in Elks Park Monday. It’s dedicated to everyone in Prince Albert who has been impacted by impaired driving, whether they were injured or lost a loved one.

MADD Prince Albert director Karen Anthony-Burns said the project has been in the works for almost a year. The bench was installed with the support of MADD Canada, the Elks and Domremy Memorials.

‘We thought we would do a memorial bench in Prince Albert to honour those who have been injured and who have lost relatives due to impaired driving,” Anthony-Burns said.

“We’re very proud of this. It’s a very busy spot on the trail, very visible. We’re hoping that residents will see that and it will encourage everyone to think and make sure they’re driving sober. We don’t want to see any more losses in our community.”

Earlier this year, a provincial monument was unveiled in Saskatoon. It includes the names of 45 people killed as a result of alcohol and drug-related road crashes.

“We thought that because Prince Albert has had so many impaired driving crashes, it would be good for us to have something in our community.”

The cause has special significance for Anthony-Burns. Her son Daniel was killed in an alcohol-related crash in 2010.

“For us, it’s very personal, and we’re very happy to be a part of this and to help raise that awareness.”

Anthony-Burns said that as long as people are driving impaired, MADD Prince Albert will continue to be active.

“Every time you think you’ve made an inroad, we see again that there are others driving impaired. We would like to not have to do this,” she said.

The bench will be officially unveiled at the third annual Strides for Change 5 km walk/run set for Aug. 25 at 2 p.m.

The event is a means of spreading the message about stopping impaired driving while raising funds the local MADD chapter uses to help victims of impaired driving. Strides for Change also includes a memorial tribute.

It’s open to anyone in the community. To register, visit the MADD Prince Albert Facebook page.