News & Press

MADD breakfast honors those committed to ending drunk driving

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 Source:

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) -- People across the state were recognized for their efforts to end drunk driving Friday at the annual Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Awards breakfast.

Police officers, dispatchers and EMS personnel were some of those who were honored at the event.

"It takes a village to be able to eradicate drinking and driving and we want to recognize those that are instrumental in the village," chair of the MADD Awards breakfast Cathy Andreozzi said. "We have officers here today who have gone above and beyond, we have legislators, we have community advocates and other volunteers."

Andreozzi has been volunteering with MADD for 13 years. Her family's life changed forever when her daughter was struck in a hit-and-run by a drunk driver.

"My daughter survived the crash, unfortunately not in a way that allowed her to go forward and live her life the way she would have, but for the choice of one," Andreozzi said.

The awards not only honored law enforcement but also those in other fields, including a state legislator, prosecutor and an educator.

Central Falls High School teacher Samantha Desmarais is working to inspire her students to make positive decisions.

"It is a fast-paced society when you are a teenager," she said. "You are coming into your own and a lot of it is about going along with the crowd, or you don't know how to say no, or you don't know how to make your own positive choices when you see everything going on around you."

"So to really reach out to students and show them that there is a fun, positive culture around making positive, sober decisions is huge," Desmarais added.

This year was the inaugural Good Samaritan Award, won by both Steven Lipps and Claire Padula. The pair helped pull Samantha Kennelly out of her car after she was hit head on by a suspected drunk driver going the wrong way on I-295.

The awards honored the man behind the Rhode Island Department of Transportation's "Ripple Effect" campaign, as well as MADD volunteers and victims services.