The members of MADD Kitsap Chapter are asking for help in raising funds for this year’s Walk Like Madd event.
The chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), is part of a national nonprofit dedicated to protecting families from drunk driving and underage drinking. The Kitsap Chapter will be participating in the Seattle Walk Like MADD & 5K Madd Dash on Sept. 15 at 9 a.m. and is looking for members and funds to bring to the event.
“I’ve been a MADD volunteer here in Kitsap for the 15 years now,” said Betty Skinner, a local member. “We have a goal of $1,000 for our Kitsap team…this year we kinda got off to a slow (fundraising) start.”
So far, the group has raised $575 of its goal.
This is the local group’s third year participating in the event, but it is the second year they’ve recognized and dedicated their walk to Washington State Trooper Tony Radulescu. He was shot and killed while making a traffic stop on a driver in a pickup truck in Gorst last year. Radulescu’s dedication to getting impaired drivers off the road is one of the main reasons the group is honoring him through their walk, Skinner said.
“He was a good guy,” Skinner said, choking back tears. “He was a good, good guy. It’s a way to carry on his name.”
We are walking in his memory for all he did to support the fight against impaired driving,” states the team’s mission on the Walk Like Madd website. “Trooper Tony supported us with his Aggressive Driving Apprehension Team, supported us with emceeing our Mock Crash programs, attended our Youth Conferences to influence the kids with a positive message and worked tirelessly to remove drunk drivers from our county roadways.”
After being the top fundraising team in the friends and family category last year at the event, Skinner hopes they can do it again.
“We’ve opened it up to everybody that wants to honor Tony,” she said. “Our Trooper Tony Team goal last year was $1,000 and we raised $2,930 and had 37 members on our team.”
Participants also do not have to show up to the event to donate. A virtual walker donation is offered through the event website for those who cannot attend the event. Registration costs vary, including $15 for youth (virtual and non-virtual) and $20 for adult walkers (virtual and non-virtual). Runners will have a registration fee of $30. All registrations come with a Walk Like Madd t-shirt.
According to the Walk Like Madd site, “10,839 people died in drunk-driving crashes — one every 50 minutes.”
Sadly, MADD Kitsap Chapter Volunteer Marsha Masters knows all too well how true that statement is.
As a former teacher at Olympic High School in Bremerton, she lost one of her students in a drunk driving incident. Being close with the family made it that much more difficult for her to face her classroom the week following the student’s death.
“It was kinda hard to go into that classroom on Monday morning to face an empty desk,” she said.
Masters has been involved in the local MADD chapter for 23 years as a volunteer and said that the event is a bittersweet one.
“It’s just a real eye-opener to know that many people are impacted by impaired driving,” she said of the walking and 5K event. “It’s fun, but it’s sad too because you know they’ve been thrown into that role at no fault of their own.”
As for raising funds in Radulescu’s honor, Masters said that everything that was written in the news or published about the former trooper last year was all true. While known for his big personality and smile, Masters said her friend was also very serious when it came to the topic of impaired driving. She said she hopes others realize that any donation, any effort to be involved is appreciated and worthwhile to the group.
“He was very serious about traffic safety and was very serious about getting impaired drivers off the road,” she said. “This is one of the things that is absolutely 100 percent preventable. In their small or big way, they’re helping to do that (with this event).”
For more information on the walk, visit www.support.madd.org or contact Betty Skinner at 360-479-9850 to join the team.