The SAFE Delaware Coalition met Thursday at the Delaware Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol and hung wreathes to remember the people killed in traffic crashes within the county this year.
Jackie Bain, a community health specialist at the Delaware Health District who coordinates the SAFE Delaware Coalition, was the host of the annual event and said the goal is to raise awareness and increase safety ahead of the holidays.
“The coalition strives to end the loss of life to traffic crashes in Delaware County,” Bain said. “Acknowledging those that have been impacted by a tragic crash is central to that effort. SAFE remembers the names of each fatal crash victim that happens each year.”
Bain said the coalition’s event ties in with the United Nation’s World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims and explained the event’s goals.
“The objectives of this worldwide event is to provide a platform to family and friends of road traffic victims to remember all those people killed and seriously injured on our roadways; to acknowledge the crucial work of our emergency service; to advocate for the better support of our road traffic victims and their families; and finally to promote evidence based actions to prevent and hopefully eventually stop further road traffic deaths and injuries,” she said.
Bain had a wreath laid to honor first responders, especially those who respond to traffic crashes.
“We’re humbled by the strength, courage, and compassion that they demonstrate every day aiding victims during and after traffic motor vehicle crashes,” Bain said. “This may be their job but it takes its toll on them just the same.”
Bain said the event and thinking about traffic deaths may be unpleasant but it’s necessary.
“This event makes many of you uncomfortable,” she said Thursday. “It makes me uncomfortable also. It hurts to share this kind of grief. Ignoring traffic deaths is not going to make it any easier to live with. They are continuing to happen. We are supposed to be uncomfortable with the tragedy of traffic deaths. Let this discomfort continue to fuel our desire to work for safer roadways here in Delaware County and everywhere.”
Bain said 14 people have died in Delaware County this year as a result of traffic crashes, and she extended the coalition’s sympathies to their families and friends.
“Every single one of these people had a story, they had plans for their life,” Bain said. “They had so much left to give to those who knew them. Now they will be a memory to everyone left behind and an empty seat at the table. … Every year these crashes are horrific, abrupt, meaningless, and intrusive incidents that snatch bright, beautiful, promising lives from their family and friends. This kind of sudden trauma that is caused by these incidents … they rip open the souls of those they have left behinds.”
During the event, Bain read the names of the 14 individuals and members of the coalition pinned name tags for each individual on a wreath.
“These lost lives will not be forgotten,” Bain said. “It is our solemn plea that ever driver remembers these names and those that have been lost to traffic crashes every day when they get behind the wheel. Please be safe this holiday and every day .”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.