The Pandemic stopped the usual cycle of the "Every 15 Minutes" presentations at Ellsworth High School. Normally held every 2 years, the last time it has been held at Ellsworth High School was back in 2018. I hope the Class of 2021, in all area high schools will take a moment to read this, look at the videos and pictures. It is that important.

One of the events cancelled because of the Coronavirus was Ellsworth High School's presentation of Every 15 Minutes. This 2 day event was to have taken place on April 29th and 30th. Because of the complexity involved in staging the event, it is held every 2 years.

I had never heard of Every 15 Minutes, until I was invited to attend in 2014. In conjunction with the Ellsworth Fire and Police Department, Hancock County Sheriff's Department, Jordan Fernald Funeral Home and many more volunteers, Ellsworth High School puts on this sobering presentation.

7 years ago,in 2014 I spent an emotional day and a half at Ellsworth High School and as Every 15 Minutes unfolded. I wish that every school could see this! It changed me, and I reread what I wrote and watched the video I had goosebumps again. Here's the article from 7 years ago. Please read it! If you have a teenager, please make sure they read it and watch the video!

I was supposed to be at the event last week. I was going to post the pictures and video.

All participants  write a letter to their parents Wednesday night as they stay away from them until they are reunited at an assembly on Thursday. The letter begins “Dear Mom and Dad, Every 15 minutes, someone in the United States dies from an alcohol related traffic collision and today I died. I never got the chance to tell you….”

5 years ago I was there. Here's my impression of that day

Today was a day that made me cry. I watched the Every 15 Minutes program at Ellsworth High School. I watched children who I knew "die" in an alcohol related accident. I saw their bodies placed in body bags. I saw their principal identify their bodies, and worse, I saw their parents see them, after the Ellsworth Fire Department members placed their bodies in body bags supplied by Jordan-Fernald Funeral Home and I cried. I turned around because I was in pain, and I couldn't bear to watch it anymore. I stopped taking pictures, because I couldn't do it anymore. No parent, should ever have to bury their child.

These pictures are graphic. The staff at Ellsworth High School did a fantastic job making up Sammy Mason, Abby Lynch, Hunter Cote and Tyler Hardwick. Today, Sammy and Hunter died. There will be a funeral at Ellsworth High School tomorrow. Hannah Box was arrested, booked in at Hancock County Jail, and later sentenced to a lengthy jail sentence in front of her friends, classmates and family.

The pictures are graphic, but remember they are all pretend. The emotions on the faces of the students, the first responders and others are real. The tears I shed are real. I called my wife today and told her what happened and broke down crying.

Here's the video I took of the students watching the bodies being removed. They "got it". There wasn't a peep. No nervous laughter, no talking. Just stunned silence

Hug your children, hug your parents. Life is too short. Do your part to make it longer by committing to NEVER, EVER Drink and Drive!

Here are photos from 2018 and 2016. They are graphic, but it is so important that students and parents see them. You can say Don't Drink and Drive until you're blue in the face, but a presentation like this really hits home.

Every 15 Minutes 2018

Every 15 Minutes 2016

More From WDEA Ellsworth Maine