There won't be any athletic events at Ellsworth High School Wednesday, May 2nd. There are no practices, there are no games. Classes are going to be disrupted. It's a special day! It's a day to save lives! It's a day to send a message! It's a day that public safety officials from across Ellsworth and Hancock County come together to dramatically demonstrate to the students of Ellsworth High School that Every 15 Minutes someone dies as a result of alcohol related traffic accidents.

Four 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 4 years ago. Please read it! If you have a teenager, please make sure they read it and watch the video!

I will be there to take pictures of this year's event.  I will post the video from Hancock County Technical Center's Media Department.

All participants will 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….”

Two 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!

Every 15 Minutes 2016

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