East Texas MADD will present its Ninth Annual "Tie One On For Safety" luncheon Dec. 4 at The University of Texas at Tyler's Ornelas Activity Center.
The event reminds us of the importance of not drinking and driving during the holiday season — traditionally a time when alcohol related accidents and deaths increase.
It seems we all know someone who has been injured or hurt by an idiot who consumes alcohol and then foolishly thinks he/she can safely drive.
The numbers are scary. Last year alone, about 10,300 people were killed and 345,000 were injured in drunken driving accidents.
"Each crash, each death, each injury impacts not only the person in the crash, but family, friends, classmates, coworkers and more. Even those who have not been directly touched help pay the $132 billion yearly price tag of drunken driving," notes MADD.
Kari Miller is paying the price of another's irresponsible behavior. She will be the guest speaker at this year's luncheon.
The following information about Kari was obtained from www.pbs.org.
Kari Miller was serving in active military duty, getting ready for officer training school, when a drunk driver smashed into the car she was traveling in. The driver of her car was killed. Kari survived, but lost both her legs in the crash; one amputated above the knee, one below.
As she recovered, Miller first competed in wheelchair basketball, then discovered sitting volleyball. It was an intense experience: the first ball came at her "like it had smoke and fire shooting from it. I just screamed and dove out of the way," she says.
"My coach immediately informed me that there is no screaming in volleyball!"
Miller joined the U.S. Paralym-pics Women's Sitting Volleyball National Team in 2006, and two years later helped the team earn a silver medal in the Beijing Games. Kari played every set of every match as the team's libero, one of the key defensive positions that anticipates return balls, then passes them to the setter with hard, controlled hits.
The awards have continued since: Miller served as a starter for Team USA when they took the silver medal at the 2010 Sitting Volleyball World Championships, and that year she was ranked No. 1 libero in the world.
Kari works with the Paralympic Military Program at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. She teaches wounded soldiers how to use sports in their recovery, works with the families of the soldiers in adapting, and coaches at the Warrior Games.
For more about the work of East Texas MADD or "Tie One On For Safety" go to http://www.madd.org/local-offices/tx/east-texas.