Annual Candlelight Vigil

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On March 24, 2018, Mothers Against Drunk Driving – Georgia (MADD Georgia) held its Annual Candlelight Vigil at Springfield Baptist Church in Conyers, GA.

The Statewide Candlelight Vigil was a Day of Remembrance and Hope to remind those in attendance that they are not alone in their journeys and that MADD is here to support and assist them in their time of need.

MADD Georgia State Executive Director Debbie Day offered welcoming remarks and thanked victim families and survivors, community partners, law enforcement, and loved ones for attending to pay tribute to the lives forever changed by someone’s decision to drink and drive.

MADD Georgia State Executive Director Debbie Day delivers the welcoming remarks.

Shannon Duffey, Manager of Victim Services, led the audience in a moment of silence in recognition of law enforcement and to honor those who were killed or injured on Georgia roadways in 2017.

Shannon Duffey, Manager of Victim Services for MADD Georgia, offers the opening remarks for the Annual Candlelight Vigil.

Arthur Mitchell, MADD Georgia State Advisory Council Member and Executive Minister of Springfield Baptist Church, gave a beautiful invocation to introduce the Candlelight Ceremony.

Arthur Mitchell is an Executive Minister at Springfield Baptist Church and a MADD Georgia State Advisory Council Member.

Families, loved ones, and friends were invited to the stage to share something they remembered about their loved one and how their lives have changed since their loved one’s crash. Participants were also invited to light a candle for their loved one and recite their loved one’s name.

Attendees were invited to the stage during the Candlelight Ceremony to share memories of their loved ones and how their lives were forever changed by their crashes.

A Victim Tribute video titled Time to Remember followed the Candlelight Ceremony and featured photos of victims and survivors of DUI crashes to both honor and remember the victims and survivors.

Michelle Toledo Cainas offered the Words of Encouragement to those in attendance and shared her story of how her life was impacted at the age of 8 when her Aunt Marta Cecelia was injured after being struck head on by a drunk driver. Michelle is an advocate, consultant, and trainer with a master’s degree in forensic psychology. She has coordinated, planned, and executed multiple trainings across metro Atlanta for advocates, law enforcement, and other social services providers.

Michelle Toledo Cainas offered words of encouragement for those in attendance.

MADD Victim Services Specialist Shermaine Johnson shared the poem A Gift from Heaven by Kristen Dean to conclude the program.

MADD Victim Services Specialist Shermaine Johnson read the poem A Gift From Heaven by Kristen Dean.

Victim Services Specialist Sharlenor Whatley provided the closing remarks, citing the MADD Georgia resources that were available for victims, survivors, and their loved ones at the event and the services offered to victims during their healing process.

MADD Georgia Victim Services Specialist Sharlenor Whatley provided the closing remarks at the Annual Candlelight Vigil.

The Georgia Office of Victim Services was ready and available for families to ask questions, ask about the status of their offenders, and book an appointment for the upcoming Victims Visitors’ Day during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

Representatives from the Georgia Office of Victim Services attended the event and were there to answer questions from families in attendance.

At the conclusion of the program, the over 60 attendees enjoyed light refreshments generously donated by local businesses. Springfield Baptist Church was a MADD Advocate at the 2017 Mercedes-Benz Stadium 5K/Walk Like MADD.

Attendees were able to enjoy light refreshments donated from generous local businesses.

MADD Georgia is grateful to the support of local businesses for their generous donations for the Annual Candlelight Vigil:

Piccadilly, Highway 38, Conyers, GA

Chick-Fil-A, Lake Dow Location, McDonough, GA

Sam’s Club, Jonesboro Rd, McDonough, GA

Food Depot, Salem Rd, Conyers, GA