Get MADD about impaired driving: New local chapter starting up in Prince Albert

Jodi
Jodi Schellenberg
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Many people see terrible incidents, but never choose to do anything about it -- Trina Cockle is not one of those people.

MADD

After witnessing a terrible accident a couple years ago, Cockle wanted to do more to help the community.

“I was witness to the accident when Ben Darchuk was killed,” she said. “That’s been a little over two years ago now.”

Darchuk was killed in 2012 when he was travelling north on Highway 2 while heading to his family’s cabin at Emma Lake in May.

“When you see something like that you feel so helpless and so devastated,” Cockle said. “You wish you could have done more. You think of things like, ‘How could I have done something differently?’”

She followed the impaired driving case, going to all of the court dates, hoping to find some peace and closure. Although it helped, Cockle wanted to do more.

“You feel like you need to do something but you don’t know what,” she explained. “Then I saw the Strides for Change commercial on TV one night and it just clicked. I immediately got on the MADD Canada website and found out who to contact and started the process from there.”

MADD is a national organization to stop impaired driving and to help support victims of impaired driving. In Canada, there are more than 100 chapters with about 7,500 volunteers.

“There are four Canadians killed and 200 are injured every day as a result of drinking and driving -- 20,000 Canadians receive support from MADD Canada annually,” Cockle said. “To bring this to our community brings community awareness.”

Not only does MADD raise awareness, it also provides victim services volunteer training and teaches them how to do court monitoring, she said.

“I think the main thing is the training they provide for us -- myself, I want to become a victim services volunteer, so therefore I have an online course and they will send me to a three or four day seminar that will training me to do that,” Cockle said. “If anything happens in our community and someone wants to reach out, they can always contact the national office, but then there is also a community victim services volunteer right here in our city, which I think would benefit anybody.”

MADD will also help educate everyone in the community, from adults to children through special events and awareness campaigns, such as the Project Red Ribbon.

The first year will be a learning process, as Cockle is restarting the local chapter, which hasn’t been active for a number of years. After the first year, it can become an official chapter with the national organization.

She is looking forward to bringing MADD to Prince Albert citizens.

“We can do anything that we want locally really,” Cockle said. “I would like to see a local candlelight vigil or a local memorial event for the victims here in our area. I think that is important to the victims and their families to have the community coming together and knowing you are not alone.”

She hopes to get more ideas from interested volunteers at future meetings. Their first meeting was on Monday evening.

“It is getting the initial group of volunteers together, letting everyone know what I have learned and hopefully being able to answer as many questions as I can, handing out material, showing them what kind of material I have to hand out, gathering ideas for a future event.”

She thinks MADD is an “important organization to have in any community.”

“Every community is affected by drinking and driving in some way, shape or form,” Cockle said. “I think any support we can give to people in tragedies such as this, we certainly should be doing our best to do that.”

Although MADD stands for Mothers Against Drinking and Driving, but anyone can join, even if they are not mothers.

People can contact Cockle through the Facebook page or email her at maddprincealbert@gmail.com.

She is looking forward to getting the organization started and getting more support from the community.

“We need the community to help us do this. We can’t do it on our own. We need to raise funds to be able to do these events and create these memories and do things in the community.”

Organizations: MADD, Strides for Change

Geographic location: Emma Lake, Canada

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