Denise Dubyk remembers the morning she found out her son-in-law Darryl lost his life in a vehicle crash involving alcohol.
He was just 32 years old.
It has been more than a decade, but it’s still fresh in her mind.
“I never ever will forget that morning. I will never forget seeing my daughter’s pain or the look in the eyes of my grandsons, who were two and six at the time,” Dubyk said.
“As a mother and a grandmother I could do nothing to protect them.”
Darryl was a passenger in a pickup truck driven by an impaired driver.
The impaired driver was a repeat offender who got behind the wheel and drove drunk while on suspension.
The driver hit a parked truck on the passenger side killing Darryl.
“It’s now been 10 and a half years and our family continues to ride the emotional, mental and physical roller-coaster that follows the devastation caused by this tragedy.
My daughter tells me, ‘There is never a day that goes by that we don’t think of him or speak his name’,” Dubyk said.
Dubyk spoke during the 18th candlelight vigil held by the local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving at St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Red Deer on Saturday night.
Dubyk lives in Calgary and is the national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
She said each day four people are killed and 200 are injured across Canada as a result of drunk driving. “We know impaired driving doesn’t have to happen. It’s 100 per cent preventable,” Dubyk said.
“We share in the hope that our message is being heard loud and clear across the country. And we do it all in memory of our loved ones who have been killed or injured by this senseless, preventable crime. We do it so others will not have to experience this pain.”
Around 60 family members and friends gathered at the church to remember loved ones and celebrate the lives of those who have been lost as part of the vigil.
The candlelight service involved music and prayer and finally the calling out of more than 60 names of people who had been killed by drunk drivers, with RCMP members escorting families to the front of the room to light a candle in their loved one’s memory.
Aleta Neville, president of the local chapter of MADD, was among those family members lighting candles. She and her husband lost their son Brent “Nev” Neville in March 2006. He was just 21 years old and was finishing his business degree at Red Deer College, with plans to follow in his father’s footsteps and go into law enforcement, when he lost his life as the result of a drunk driver.
“Tonight we come together to celebrate the lives cut tragically short by something so senseless,” Neville said on Saturday. “Even though we are all suffering the loss of a loved one we want to light a candle tonight in their memory and take comfort in knowing they are standing right beside us.”
Neville said they want to ensure loved ones are never forgotten and society will one day eliminate drinking and driving.
“I’m sure I speak on behalf of all victims’ families when I say time means nothing. The memory is like yesterday. We love you. We miss you and even as we celebrate you are in our thoughts and our prayers.”
The local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving recently kicked off its Project Red Ribbon campaign, which will run until Jan. 3, 2011, as a way to promote sober driving during the holiday season.