For several years now I have been a volunteer in what feels like one of the most remote outposts in the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) organization---Washington State.
Until recently we were an all-volunteer state. And we have had only a handful of active members. One in Spokane, one in Olympia, three the on the peninsula/ Puget Sound Islands, and just me in Seattle. Of course, we all have other full-time jobs and don’t have as much time as we would like to give to MADD. It has often felt like we are a rag-tag group of unorganized mercenaries fighting against impaired driving one small battle at a time with weeks or months between skirmishes. Thankfully we are not the only ones fighting this war in Washington State. We are joined by other crusaders in law enforcement, criminal justice, civil justice, safety, education and business.
Because we are so small, so remote, and relatively unorganized it has often seemed like we had to try to decipher far away smoke signals from the mother-ship (MADD National). Or that we would tie our hopes and dreams of what MADD Washington could/can be based on the wonderful success stories that we hear about what other MADD chapters are able to accomplish in their states---these stories have often seemed like myths and legends.
But this week I had the honor of attending the MADD National Conference for the first time. I now feel like I have seen with my own eyes what is truly possible. I was both intimidated and inspired by what I saw that other chapters are able to do. Armed with this new insight into what is possible, and motivated by the heart-touching stories of tragedy and triumph that are everywhere within MADD, I am ready to move forward to do more in Washington State in the weeks, months and years to come.
Of course, it won’t be easy. There will be many, many roadblocks and obstacles. And there will be times that are frustrating and discouraging. But I’ll just have to keep doing what I have been doing for more than 20 years to help me move past fear and anxiety. I’ll silently sing one of three songs in my head—‘I Have Confidence’ from The Sound of Music, ‘Pick Yourself Up’ which has been sung by so many great artists over the years, or ‘Nothing Is Impossible’ from the musical The Wizard of Menlo Park.
Let me share with you my own diary from the conference.