Survivor Speakout


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The following comments are from people who have attended Survivor Speakout in Hendricks County Indiana.

The feedback we receive from those who have witnessed Survivor Speakout helps to ensure that the program is working as it was designed; to open eyes, make people think and to save lives in Hendricks County, Indiana and surrounding communities.

Our hope is that court ordered offenders will not repeat their offense by driving impaired again and that visitors will receive the same message to let others know the potentially horrific consequences of driving impaired.

SEND US YOUR FEEDBACK



FEEDBACk we have received

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Very powerful messages in the speakout (September 4, 2019), opened my eyes to a lot. Very thankful for the class and what Ii got out of it. I think it's a great opportunity for people to see the effects of their actions and to see what could happen to people and their families in the light of drunk/impaired driving. EB

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(June 5, 2019) In such a setting as a victim impact panel one is given an opportunity. A doorway to choose honesty. To stop and be honest with one's self about why I am here listening to this sobering information. These gut wrenching realities. I left with a new clarity on just how selfish my choices and actions were and a new determination to turn my life around and be of value in my community rather than putting others at risk because I am a selfish fool. Seems harsh? Not really, no it really isn't.  I believe truth is powerful and exposing people to truth will sow seeds and a reap a good harvest. The courage and fortitude of the victims who share their story to help others is heart breaking yet inspiring.  Keep up the good work and thank you for the valuable lessons you present at these meetings. It is extremely worthwile.

JS

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(June 5, 2019) I would like to say that this program is very moving and should touch so many lives. It definitely touched mine. The speakers were so amazing to be able to tell their stories especially with how close it hits their hearts. I believe this program should be even more involved with more people to prevent these tragic things from happening. It is an eye opening and soul touching program and I will be suggesting to people I know to attend as well. I want to thank everyone ivolved in this for their strength and also pray for all families involved in loss and life changing. Thank you and God bless.

TC
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I would like to start by thanking you for your time.  I felt the format, and information in the SSO meeting (June 5, 2019) was excellent. I appreciate the fact that family of victims are willing to tell their tragic experience and/or face the cause of their loss. It truly was an enlightening session, and again appreciate the time from everyone involved.
CJ
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This program is truly moving. I knew I had made a horrible decision the night it was made, but this program will stay with me forever. It honestly made me feel that any teen about to receive a license should attend. The speakers (June 5, 2019) all spoke to us on a very real level and I will carry their words with me throughout life. I couldn't be more sorry for the choice I made that night and thank God I wasn't hurt and didn't hurt anyone or cause any damage. This program was a blessing and made me feel the need to be further involved in any way I can. MJ
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(June 5, 2019) This is a definitely a worthwhile program. I feel very lucky that I didn't hurt someone or worse for my selfish behavior.
CV
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I am grateful that I was able to go (June 5, 2019) it was a real eye opener. Before coming I said I wouldn’t drink or drive again and I’m not! But seeing those images and that mother touched me in a way where I see everything so different and would never want to hurt anyone nor myself and would be just as mad if that ever touched my family. Thank you Steve for what you do you sure will be one of many who has turned my life around and for that I thank you! God Bless. BW
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I thought that Survivor Speakout (June 5, 2019) was very real. It will make a person about ever driving drunk. The speakers were great. PS

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I felt it was a very eye opening program that will stay with me forever. MB (March 6, 2019)
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I went to this program once before and I got alot from it. (2014) Unfortunately I had to do it again. This time (March 5, 2019) I was so profoundly grateful to Steve and Tamatha and Deputy Hays and the other speakers (Anita Tate). I was touched to the core by the stories I heard. I took away so much more this time around. If I ever find myself in a similar situation I will go back to this presentation before I drive under the influence. I recommend this to everyone who needs to complete this process. You will not be disappointed! It may seem like an inconvenience of probation but you will not leave the presentation thinking the same way!! HS

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The speakers and videos definitely make an impact on me. (March 6, 2019) CS
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Although pretty graphic, it is factual. I am not a drinker and driver and this was an isolated circumstance I had  put myself in. I am not a drinker, and digusted with my own choices. I look back and know I will never ever put myself in any situation like that ever again. I should have called someone no matter how fine I felt. After seeing the real life situations and listening to Anita Tate talk about her daughter I felt her pain. (March 6, 2019) My kids knew of these kids and I remember Elizabeth and Nathan Gentry stories. This experience made me see them in a way I did not want to think of anyone's child. I have my own children and would be insane if someone drinking took one of my children or grandchildren. I hurt a lot of people that care about me, trusted me, and even looked up to me. I am the trunk of my family and I shed a lot of leaves that night and I have to grow back  bigger and stronger then ever. I will prove myself worthy of being trusted again. KM

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Intense for we are talking about real people . Having the family members and the people who created the accident, listening to the stories. Therefore knowing it happened makes it Intense. Thank you MTC
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While I Can not say my experience was a pleasant one (March 6, 2019) i would like to start by saying, I Couldn't Imagine being a victim as the Parent Whom Spoke, I thought initially that Steven was a bit of an Jerk but by the end of being informed of my Ignorance I found myself not being able to impress others the way he left me the day after. I can not thank him enough for every word and approach he presented, It was necessary to get my attention. I will never be the same after seeing the reality of Victims impact. My wishes are that this would become Mandatory in every School and other events, it will Change everything about the way you Drive and your awareness of other Drivers, I find myself begging My Wife and family to watch for Impaired Drivers aggressively. I Can not thank everyone involved for this reality Check, and pray for the previous victims and the future Ones. It is hard to say but Thank you.
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I think it was very helpful; (December 5, 2018) it puts you in the shoes of the other side of the situation and does make you realize how truly lucky you are. I cried when both the mothers spoke and I'm just so thankful I didn't injure or kill anyone else or myself. Driving impaired is very dangerous and very stupid. I've made this mistake more than once but I know for certain attending this panel made a difference in my thought process. The pictures will definitely play in my head before me or anyone I know gets behind the wheel while under the influence of anything. MC
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Thank you to everyone that spoke (December 5, 2018) it really impacted me. I wish I would have went through this whole thing before I was arrested. I feel strongly that if this was shown to people in high school then things would be a little different. I would have done everything different that night. I would never want to put any family though the trauma and sorrow. NF
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I attended the class on December 5, 2018. This is a very powerful presentation. I am a first time offender and let me just say, it will be my last. This truly hits home for anyone that has children, loved ones, or just anyone close to their hearts. It's a real eye opener. We all seem to think that it will never happen to us but this program will show you just how wrong we are to have that mind set.  I am amazed at the courage that the speakers have after such tragedies! I applaud them and I would never want to be in their position! Thank you for allowing me to see that I am the "LUCKY" one. PM
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Thank you for a great program! (December 5, 2018),I was very nervous & anxious about attending, but it was perfect, and I am now thankful I had to go. It’s something that everyone should see at some point. Had I seen your program sooner, perhaps I would not be in my current situation. If you ever need volunteers to help with the program, I would love to help — even just paperwork or stacking chairs ;-)) Thank you again for a very worthwhile program. AT
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Being from Hendricks County my entire life and knowing some of the victims, this was indeed an eye opening experience! I can 100% guarantee that I will never again be behind the wheel of a car impaired in any way!  I had made that vow to myself prior to attending SSO (September 5, 2018), but those images are forever etched in my mind!  I will not  be the person that causes this kind of unbearable pain to anyones family, friends, and loved ones! I am fortunate to be one of the "lucky ones!" Thank you and I hope that you continue to make the impact that you made on me! God Bless!! DF
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After the presentation (June 6, 2018) I was glad I got pulled over.  I am the one who said this to you the night of the presentation. This has changed my life forever.  I am fully focused, sober, etc when I am driving now.  I truly thank you. CE
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My experience at the survivor speak out (June 6, 2018) was very saddening. My heart was broke for the people who had to experience losing a loved one. I will never drink and drive againI actually quite drinking because of my experience. I would feel very deeply sorry if I killed someone or if my children had yo grow up with out a father. I appreciate u showing me that it has opened my eyes to the realization of the problems that exist in the world if more people had to do that every week or even once for some would never drink and drive. My condolence to everyone that has lost someone dear to them! BL
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I am a repeat offender and have attended this program 2 other times in Marion County. This (Survivor Speakout, June 6, 2018) was the most impactful of them all. Some of this is in part to the changes in my life this time around. However, I couldn't help but consider how my family would do if they would have lost me in any capacity from my poor choices. This was also the first time I heard a testimony from an offender. It was frightening to hear it from the offenders’ own mouth and imagine that it could have been me. The crash site and autopsy photos were jarring and will never been forgotten. I have already shared this experience and talked about how insane it is to drive under the influence to several people outside of the meeting because of this experience. EM
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Great program, although I feel as though I already put myself thru that class myself I’m glad it was there to reinforce me on new path I have set for myself. I was worried I would be shamed and that is not at all what I got from this class... just a reinforced wake up call. TE
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I been there's on June 6 (2018) at the hall of Survivor Speakout when your speech, honesty When I listen your speech and the victims’ families told us about their story it's really touch my heart. I am so sorry for all the victims’ families and I thank for all those who give us the best way to go safe others people and safe our children and communities, including my family and myself. I never thought about it could happen to us any day in a second when we drive with drunk, yes it could, so you change my life which is for the movies you show us. I sure I will never ever drive again when I drink a beer. Anyway, I thank you for Steve and all the victims’ families who share us their stories and show me the best way things to do. Sorry for my broken English, I wish I can speak & write perfectly as my first language. Thank you and God bless you Steve and all the victims’ families who lost their life.  DT
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The program (June 6, 2018) is definitely a game changer, my thoughts are just like someone help you not to commit mistakes one day and your helping us out not commit it one day; I would like to do the same with others by showing the videos and showing the true effects of our mistakes; is there a way to copyright or give out at the end of each class a dvd/cd of the PowerPoint/video that is shown and help spread us out the word of how lucky we are? My prayers went out last night to the families that were victims as at the end we are all victims. JJ
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I really appreciated attending the Survivor Speakout program. (March 7, 2018) Everything that you spoke about I have been working towards since my accident. In this life we live we must first be able to admit the things that we need to work on. Also be grown enough to admit when we are wrong and accept every action that comes with being wrong. Cognitive Dissonance over everything. I appreciate you sir, your delivery is everything! Keep teaching the way you do whether they get it now or in the future! Be blessed and thank you again. DS 
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It was the most heart wrenching experience. (December 6, 2017) Although I was/am aware of what can happen seeing the hurt, pain, devastation and experience of people who have died, survivors living with loss and visually how graphic accidents are.  It was utterly horrific and I do not want to be responsible, see or want to experience such.  I am remorseful of my decision to drink and drive and although I did not have an accident am horribly saddened. It was the most difficult thing I had to watch and I am definitely not going to drink and drive, will strive to encourage others not to do so and would always suggest others if they are incapacitated to get a lift home but definitely do not attempt to drive.  It was a major eye opener for me and I am totally glad that I attended the panel.  I have learnt my lesson. Thank you for allowing me to experience this. Those images would forever be etched in my memory and would be a constant reminder to keep me on track and to help others from making that mistake. CH
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As someone who's never been in trouble and made a terrible choice to drink and drive one night I was so affected by this program. (December 6, 2017) I can't imagine the pain these families are going thru. As a mother I can't imagine losing a child or them losing me. The pictures of the victims will forever live in my head. I pray for the families and hope one day they find comfort. AK
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I wasn't sure what to expect prior to coming to the Survivor Speakout (December 6, 2017). I had already felt horribly about what I had done, especially by creating danger for others. After seeing the videos and photos you showed us, I felt even worse. I never meant to put anyone in danger, but I did. I regret what I did. I always told myself I would never drink and drive. I don't remember making the decision to drive after I had way too many drinks at a friends house. No one stopped me either. No one cared enough to tell me I had too much to drink, or even take my keys from me, but it's not their fault. It's mine. I'm the one who drove after making the decision to drink. I put drivers on the road at risk. I put my family at risk. I put my life at risk. I have learned a lesson, not just from the Survivor Speakout, but with what I could have potentially done to my family and families of others. It's not easy to feel this way, but the way the families feel that lost loved ones is worse than anything I could feel about what I did. Thank you for putting together your meetings to show people about the dangers of what they did, not just for the danger we put ourselves in, but the pain we could have caused others. I felt their pain. I lost my mother to suicide and I started using alcohol to cope with my anger and pain. I got out of control and this OWI was a wake up call that I was traveling down a slippery slope. Thank you again for what you do. You are saving lives. AH
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I found the presentations (December 6, 2017) to be both very powerful and moving. It was a vivid reminder of what's really at stake, and I for one am thankful for having attended. KL
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(December 6, 2017) Although I have already decided not to ever drink and drive again, this pushes the issue even more! This was very beneficial to me! Thank you for all that you do! BW
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(September 6, 2017) Wow!! This time I have received the wake up call! The energy in the room was just different then the last time I was there. Or maybe my mind was open this time, I wasn't thinking that can't/won't happen to me the whole time. I was thinking that could've been me as the hairs on my arms were standing, as I listened to the saddness in the victim's families voices. I can't imagine getting a call like that about my little brother who is about to start driving or my twin cousins who just got their licenses or anyone close to me! I am disgusted that I have made this mistake more than once, that I do not value my life or life of others as much as I think I do. Since I have moved back to Danville from being away for awhile, I have learned how much I appreciate being apart of this community. It's individual like you (Steve Pyatte), Mrs. Hasty, Jerry Cunningham, Mr. Peters, and Coach Barber that make this community great! I want to be apart of this community in a positive way not someone people look at and call a failure or whisper behind my back, but talk about me in a positive way. I do not wish to fear law enforcement in this community, but to embrace them for laying it on the line for me and this community each and everyday. So thank(s) again to you and your team for making it real this time for me and for being apart of this community! Sincerely, DM
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I'm glad I got to attend survivors speak out. (September 6, 2017) Really opened my eyes to what I did and I've learned that it was the dumbest decision I've ever made. Not only could I have hurt myself but I could have killed an innocent life. I also learned and realized that I could have taken myself from my daughter for one dumb decision. Just want to thank you for opening my eyes and making me see the big picture. This class is definitely not an inconvenience made me see my life In a whole different way! AW
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I felt the program was very well organized and  efficient. (September 6, 2017) The words of Steve (owner) spoke to me as he spoke on a personal level. It also helps that he has also been in my position. Just never got caught. When I first arrived I did have the attitude that it was an inconvenience  and it was just part of my probation. And it's funny because Steve looked right at me when he said "some of you are here because you have to and it's just an inconvenience, just $30 out of my pocket." Throughout the course my attitude changed. When Josh (Stroud) spoke about his dad and his experience it hit me hard. Because I'm very close to my father and it would probably kill me if that happened to me. I want to say thank you to all the men and women that spoke last night. I will honestly say that I will call a family member or friend to drive me next time. Thank you, AD
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I really appreciate the education on the reason it is not an accident to get a DUI. The information that I received from the 2 hour session (September 6, 2017) really helped me to really think about the choices I have made to drink and drive. I am lucky that I caught and didn't take someone's life. I appreciate the program informing people in my situation and would really like for this to be something that is taught in high schools all over the world.  This really opened up my eyes to a bigger picture. I use to think that it was just my luck that I got caught, now I can say that I'm glad an officer pulled me over and didn't allow me to take a life or my own. I say thank you to the program and keep informing people.  I am a strong supporter of your program now.  Words can't express the way this program has impacted my life. For those people that think I'm just saying something good to look good, take the class for yourself. I use to think I knew it all, but the vivid pictures and stories of others has changed my mindset. We, as people, should always listen, learn, and apply what we have learned throughout our lives. Keep up the work. JA
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I came to this meeting (September 6, 2017) not trusting people that are supposed to serve and protect...but something happened to me tonite at this speak out meeting. I realized that there are some good policeman out there that are truly trying to help I witnessed people that had lost their loved ones from drunk drivers and people that actually was the cause of someone's death by driving under the influence and seen some of the most horrifying pictures I've ever seen I will never again get behind a wheel under the influence I want to thank you and everybody in this project for opening my eyes.Thanks again. LL
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(June 6, 2017) Very great program, learned a lot and makes you realize how dangerous the decisions you make can be and how life changing one decision can be, thanks for taking your time out of your day to teach people. I give it an A+. CM
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I found your (June 6, 2017) program informative as to the dangers of DWI, OWI, or DUI.  I believe that more should be said about a persons body being able to build up a resistance to alcohol and/or drugs to the point where they induce more to get less of the buzz/high they're seeking...It is a good program! RH
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This was one of the best class (June 6, 2017) I have had since I was teaching PTSD classes to my fellow Marines after our time in the War Zones in Iraq.  The impact was incredible and hit the target point as directed.  I have seen death and the aftermath up closed and it is not pretty and how you and your panel gave their own accounts hit me in the gut again.  It remind me of when I first actually took life in combat and had to review the target to make sure my mission was complete.  I know I made a very stupid mistake of OWI and have not had a thought of a drink since.  I will not be one of those 1 out 3 repeat defendant on this subject.  Again thanks and I planned on attending more in the future just to keep me focus. BB
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I recently attended the March 1st, 2017 panel and I was enlightened by those who stood before the group to speak. The officer spoke about the side of a police officer, which was insightful to know what they go through with such charges. They are truly trying to save lives. Inconvenience is a keyword in such that you are not inconvenienced by the charges or payments rather that if you were to hurt someone you have inconvenienced someone of their life as well as thier family of ever seeing them and that is far more agonizing than probation. The victim's families shared the stories of the days that would impact them years to come. The ones that struck me the most that of Nathan Gentry and Ron Stroud. When I listened to Josh Stroud I could see the pain as he explained that fateful day. Nathan's mother's story was compelling because the pain of parent reminded me of my daughter who was born recently. She like the .270 is a reminder to not make mistakes like I did July 1st, 2016, the day of my arrest. I will educate her about driving under the influence when she is old enough. Thank you for the opportunity to learn more about the consequences of driving under the influence as well as a thanks to those whose willingness to share their stories to educate drunk drivers of those consequences. GW
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Everyone should see this presentation.  It is a stark, in your face, reminder of what can happen when we make poor decisions. RF
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I was a guest at your presentation (March 1, 2017). It got to me real bad. I will never drink or smoke dope and drive again. I feel so sorry for the Victims. The videos I saw About the ones getting killed I will never forget. my heart goes out to the family's that lost there love ones due to an impair driver. The reason I was there is cause my son was one of them drunk driver. I am so glad he got pull over before he kill himself or someone. I don't know about anyone else there but it sure the hell made a big impact on me. I Promise I will never drink or take drugs and drive. The presentation was great heartbreaking but great. You may e-mail me back if you like. If I can do anything to help please let me know  LO  
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I just want to say how much of an eye opener this experience was for me (March 1, 2017). There are so many different emotions that you experience during this and none of it is a good feeling. I think the thing I appreciate the most of it all is the reality of it all. It definitely hits home for me. My mother attended with me. She has never been in trouble but it did make her aware of other factors that could play into something like this, not just drugs and alcohol. I feel that both of us definitely benefited from this experience in different ways which is a great thing. your program is amazing and honestly if it doesn't open peoples eyes once they leave that building, there is no hope for them. I honestly think that if you don't leave with any sort of guilt feeling or shame or heart ache.....I don't I can't put it into words. my mother and I were sitting there crying our eyes out for these families. the families that were sitting right behind me watching the last video....tears falling from their eyes....and that broke my heart worse. you were absolutely right.....I was a lucky one.....I got pulled over. but never again....situations like these.....we are selfish....I have a 14 year old daughter and all I could picture was her in Josh Stroud’s place....all because of a selfish decision I decided to make. thank you so much for putting this program together.....my thoughts and prayers will forever be with those families. VV
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The SSO session that I attended (March 1, 2017) was very moving and emotionally filled. Steve did a fantastic job of presentation. His ability to scold the crowd while still feeling love from him at the same time was by far one of the best mixes in, I don't want to use stage performance because I don't want it to downplay the severity of the situation, but his stage performance was powerful and I thought he did a great job. The victims all did a great job and it took a lot of courage for them to stand up in front of a bunch of offenders and tell their stories. I think anyone turning 21 should go to this survivor speak out. Going into it I was thinking, man this is going to suck and be a waste of time. I was really dreading going before hand. When It was over I was completely shocked. It was absolutely the opposite. The speak out blew my mind in the amount of seriousness and not so subtle presentations. If nothing else positive comes from my experiences from my stupid decision previously then this was worth it to hear about the families that had lost so much. I usually don't leave feedback on anything unless I believe in a product. This is definitely  a program I believe in and am happy to have attended in my life. If you have to go to this, then there are a lot worse things you could have to go. If you are a guest and want to take someone who is just learning to drive, or just turning 21. I would suggest taking that young individual. I hope this program is around when my daughter turns 16 because I will be taking her to this or one like it. JH
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This was an amazing program to learn about good choices bring good consequences where as bad choices bring bad consequences. Absolutely, I was shocked to hear from real victims how DUI effected on their lives. Instructor was awesome with clear & loud Voice. Well done. It went into my head and I was in tears. RC (attended SSO on December 6, 2016)
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Thank you for providing the SSO last night. I had no idea how incredibly difficult it would be to sit there alone. I honestly don't know a time where I've been so emotional. I was deeply touched by Jordan's story, realizing that could have been me. The young man who spoke of his father's death when he was only 10 years old broke my heart. How brave he & his family were to sit there through the video presentation. Speaking of video, Nora was right, it was reality, much worse than any horror story I've seen on television. And lastly thank you for sharing the story of your son in law, as someone who has deep depression,  I could identify in a minor way. I'm sorry for your loss. Best wishes & Merry Christmas to you & your family. JR (attended SSO on December 6, 2016)
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I thought it had some more impact on me! Very well done, it actually brought tears to my eyes!! From the man that went to prison, to all of the people that were killed by impaired drivers. When I was in jail for my offense I had decided right there and then that I was not going to put myself in that position again. This impact program just put the exclamation point on that. I promise to god, family and friends I will never drive impaired again!!! Thanks again for this program. TT (attended SSO on December 6, 2016)
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I honestly found the SSO to be like a reminder of how lucky I truly was. I could have hit someone when I crashed my car, or I could have killed myself. Hearing Jordan speak and watching the video at the end was what really did it for me. I already knew from the moment I crawled out of my car that I would never drink and drive again, but seeing the victims' family members speak and all the cars with the victims in it really hit home. SS (attended SSO on December 6, 2016)
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I want to start out by saying I went to the Dec.7 2016 SSO program and that it was very tear jerking and a learning experience too. The families, and videos that were there to show what alcohol does to innocent victims really should be shown out there more before it happens. Nobody deserves to be in that situation. I can say I am ready to make a better for myself without alcohol involved. I pray for others who see life a better way without the bad it brings in life. Bless all of the families of the innocent victims, you and missed ones are in my prayers. God bless. SP (attended SSO on December 6, 2016)
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I believe the presentation was handled in a professional manner. Could tell that a lot of valuable time was put into everything.  The videos/pics were pretty graphic, however minimal compared to what the victims and their families have or had too endure.  The horrific tragedies they have experienced and continue to experience for the rest of their lives is sad to think about and is unimaginable.  It made me think about of how lucky I really was, that things could've been worse.  I'm thankful for the police officers, judges, probation officers, counselors and for everyone in our community that has to deal with or is affected by people and their poor choices(can tell they really care about their community).  Listening to everyone and all sides of the stories, helped to put things into perspective of what could happen to any one of us.  The lady who spoke and lost her child brought tears to my eyes, knowing she isn't able to experience the things that we all take for granted when she cried I could feel her sadness and pain when she spoke.  My heart goes out to her and everyone there last night. BE (attended SSO on December 6, 2016)
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I think that it was eye opening.  I expected to be picked apart and called a horrible person. Instead it was more towards telling us how lucky we got. The message  I got  was were humans, we make mistakes and  that court  stuff really is no fun but  that I got off easy. I know I can't change my past but I still have my future!  On a final note I would like to thank Steve and all of the victims for taking all the  time to care to speak to us that they all will remain in my thoughts. SM (attended SSO on December 6, 2016)
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I thought that the program was very influential and should continue to serve as a tool to hopefully stop drunk driving. It brought to life the consequences of drinking and driving and that is something that I think people need to see. ER (attended SSO on September 7, 2016)
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There was so much emotion being wound up in the room that I felt my heart drop for every victim affected by people like me. Although my situation did not result in a death or injury, I still felt responsible. I was especially intrigued by Jordan Pratt and the victims situation. I have a 17 year old daughter and I don't think I could ever forgive the offender involved an outcome like that. I do not blame the families for their jagged words and sharp tears. I am deeply ashamed of my behavior and my ignorance. Even though I do not know the turmoil those poor parents are going through, I can surely taste their tears. The speaker Steve is absolutely an amazing spokesman. He is 100% authentic and radiates an aura of love, respect and contempt. I could not get a good nights sleep for more than a few days after this presentation. I mentioned to my wife that if there is some way I can try and give back or help out to this program that I would indeed enroll. She agreed and said she would join me. Thank you, JS (attended SSO on September 7, 2016)
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Prior to attending this program (June1, 2016), I was admittedly indifferent about the content, context, and impact that this session would offer me. By content, I ignorantly concluded prior to going that this would be a stereotypical session normally offered through a high school equivalent driver's ed curriculum or similar; a light hearted production, with the occasional speaker belittling the participants; no real engaging content to which one can connect to. I was heavily misguided in my assumptions. By context, halfway through the program, the speaker's repeated words kept haunting me: "Choices & Consequences." In addition to his words, he made a statement that I will never forget. Directed at the whole group, he stated that we "intentionally" drove impaired and put at risk the lives of innocent people. It took me a couple of seconds to comprehend the context of this statement. He followed with, "You intentionally chose to get impaired, you intentionally turned the ignition, you intentionally put the vehicle in gear, and you intentionally stepped on the gas." An overwhelming sense of shame came over me, as it finally dawned on me that this was a factual statement. For the last five months, I have compartmentalized that I never intended to drive impaired, or to endanger the lives of other drivers, pedestrians, or even my own. I was also heavily misguided in my rationalization. The fact remains, I intentionally did do all of those things.

By impact, the light hearted production I had assumed was much heavier than I could have anticipated. The imagery is forever embedded in my memory banks. The lifeless bodies and empty expressions on their bloodied faces will haunt me. Some more than others, but one in particular stood out. I hope to never see it again.

I have a four year old daughter that is my greatest accomplishment. My mind for the first time visualized the possibility of either her, my wife, mother, father, or sister laying there motionless, bloodied, and disfigured beyond belief. Victims by the hands of an individual who made an irreparable choice; a life altering choice, a choice with the power to destroy the lives of the innocent within a fraction of a second; the choice to drive impaired.
I can never fathom the loss, injustice, carnage, and soul wrenching chaos that an impaired driver can cause. I was fortunate; law-enforcement intervened.

I pledge to never drive impaired again and to endanger the lives of others, my family, including my own. I will lead by example and one day impart my daughter with one of  life's most valuable lesson... "Choices and Consequences." Have personal integrity, be guided by a moral compass and choose your path wisely. The ruinous consequences can never be undone, a life taken can never return, and what may seem like a harmless act, may in fact expose itself to be the exact opposite. RP
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I took alot from Survivor Speakout (June1, 2016) and it took a lot to hold emotions and tears back. I didnt consider myself part of the group because I smoked a bowl with a buddy instead of drunk driving, but as the seminar went on, it made me realize that, while marijuana isn't "as bad" as alcohol (i dont drink much as it is anyway) it is still an impairment, and ultimately,  while I didnt hurt anyone or get hurt myself, I did cause another vehicle to hit the median on Rockville Rd. It could have been so much worse, and the images from the scenes you showed up popped in my head. I still have trouble trying to get the images out of my head and try to just focus, but there is a reality to these things that no one really thinks about, especially me. It makes me slow down more when I drive and focus more instead of just trying to get where im going. The whole thing about thinking about me me me, I honestly thank you for the lesson I learned in that course and will keep in mind from now on. DR
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I attended the March 2nd, 2016 session as a guest with my son. What I heard from the guest speakers and saw on the video was so heart wrenching, and breath taking. It's hard to imagine that we deal with this on a daily basis. As the mother of 3 I can't begin to imagine the pain these families have and continue to go through. Unfortunately this is the second time my son has been to this Survivor Speakout. My son's vice is alcohol, so it's been quite a roller coaster in our home for the past 10 years. Alcohol and drugs change a person and we saw this in our son. As bad as it sounds my son was lucky. I wanted my son to see my pain and sadness, so I told him I would be joining him for this, and he asked "are you sure"? He said "I don't think you understand how graphic this will be".  Well-he was right, it was graphic and hard to hear and see. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Steve, Tamatha and the Sheriff. I didn't feel intimidated, or like any one was being judged. Steve is a good speaker and you can tell that he cares, and wants to help people. I like the way Steve described or referred to people struggling with drug addiction. Steve said "it's a disorder", it's a disease. In my mind it's comparable to being a diabetic or having cancer, it needs to be treated, and each person requires something different. The drugs or alcohol are not who they are, they are still Mark, Bob, Sally or Jane, and their illness is the alcohol or drugs. It was nice having someone be so genuine with their message, and shake your hand, and thank you for coming. Knowing the pain and worrying that I have personally gone through with my son, I wouldn't hesitate to share more graphic pictures, and if you have children or baby's share them to. I'm a firm believer in taking responsibility for our actions good or bad, and Steve did a fantastic job of making it clear that everyone sitting there couldn't blame anyone but themselves for being there. Thanks again for providing this and allowing me to be a guest with my son. SJ
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