MADD hold vigil
Annual event remembering those lost
An estimated 70 people attended MADD Labrador Candlelight Vigil at the Salvation Army Church in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Oct. 17. An annual event, the vigil remembers and honours victims of impaired drivers.
The RCMP’s Rigolet detachment commander Cpl. David Whitten was among the attendees. The vigil is his way of honouring his grandfather, David Whitten (who he is called after) and his uncle, Glenn Whitten, who were both killed by an impaired driver in Goose Bay on Aug. 29, 1972.
“My grandfather was 38-years-old at the time of the accident,” said Cpl. Whitten, “Ironically enough, I am 38 years old now,” Whitten said in a post that’s been shared to the RCMP NL Facebook page.
Whitten’s Uncle Glenn was 12 at the time of the crash.
MADD Labrador Chapter president Angela Wareham said those in attendance at the vigil included victims of impaired drivers, their families and other concerned citizens.
Wareham said there was an honour guard consisting of members of the RCMP, Emergency Medical Services, Emergency Flight Services and the fire department.
“We had Scouts there this year... I think it’s really important to get our message out to them as well,” she said.
The Salvation Army, Pentecostal and Northern Cross Church led a prayer service during the vigil.
The Salvation Army Church is a comforting setting for the vigil, Wareham said, and Capt. Brent Haas is a great help in organizing the event.
“Lewis Barney also helped us with the singing. He did our music and sang a couple of songs for us,” Wareham said.
According to MADD Canada, crashes involving alcohol and/ or drugs are a leading criminal cause of death in Canada
Approximately 65,000 Canadians are impacted by impaired drivers annually, their website notes.
Wareham said all you need to do is look at court documents to see that people continue to drink and drive.
“There are still four people being killed on our highways every day by impaired driving and 175 people that are being injured every day,” she said of what’s happening across the country.
Wareham said her chapter was pleased with the number of people who turned out to the vigil.
“We’re getting more and more recognition every year not only to remember and honour the victims (of impaired driving) but to get our message of awareness out there. That this violent crime needs to stop,” she said.
In posting about the vigil to RCMP NL Facebook page, Whitten reminded the public of the dangers of impaired operation of vehicle. The RCMP urges motorists to call 911 should they suspect someone is driving while impaired, he said.
“Providing a description of the vehicle and driver, a licence plate number and direction of travel can assist police in locating the vehicle and getting the impaired driver off the road,” Whitten said.
Cpl. David Whitten, Cst. Scott Nedeau, Cst. Christopher Attewell and S/Cst. Wayne Winsor attend MADD Labrador’s Candlelight Vigil in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Wednesday, Oct.17.
Cpl. David Whitten lighting a candle at the MADD Labrador Candlelight Vigil as a way of honouring family members who were killed by an impaired driver.