Mothers Against Drunk Driving East Texas presented six "Difference Maker" awards during its recent Tie One On For Safety Luncheon.

The organization recognized outstanding members of the East Texas community for their support in the fight against drunken driving and underage drinking.

Award recipients were: Lt. Jimmy Jackson with the Texas Department of Public Safety, David Dorman with R2 Restaurants, the State Farm Good Neighbors Grant Program, Becky Hicks who is a MADD volunteer and media companies Tyler Today and KYTX CBS 19.

Leslie Watson, MADD East Texas' executive director, described Jackson as the foremost drug recognition expert in the state. He trains law enforcement around the state about how to detect drugs.

Dorman is a former MADD East Texas staff member who developed and expanded a Texas Department of Transportation program while he worked with MADD.

State Farm has funded MADD East Texas' school programs for several years, Ms. Watson said. MADD goes into high schools to talk to youth about the dangers and consequences of underage drinking.

Ms. Hicks is MADD volunteer who is a victim of impaired driving. Her son was killed in a Hopkins County wreck involving a drunken driver. She speaks on victim impact panels and has served as chairwoman of the Hopkins County Walk Like MADD fundraiser.

Tyler Today magazine and KYTX CBS 19 television station each received the Media Award for special and consistent coverage of MADD and impaired driving issues, Ms. Watson said.

MADD is the nation's largest nonprofit working to protect families from drunken driving and underage drinking, according to the news release.

This year marks MADD's 35th anniversary. During the luncheon, the organization launched its 29th annual Tie One On For Safety campaign.

This campaign asks adults to display a red ribbon on their cars to remind people to plan ahead and designate a non-drinking driver before starting holiday celebrations.

"The holidays should be a joyous time of year, but all too often they result in tragedy and heartache because of the life-altering decision to drink and drive," Ms. Watson said. "Drunk driving is a choice, not an accident; one that has devastating consequences and is 100 percent preventable, 100 percent of the time."

Twitter: @TMTEmily

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