Volunteer Highlight November 2021 – Patty Arnold-Halbleib

On December 7, 2017, our lives changed forever.  We had been planning our Christmas celebration and festivities knowing that we would be with family and friends enjoying warm smiles, stories of past gatherings and looking forward to a holiday full of love and laughter.  That all changed in the blink of an eye. At approximately 2:40 AM, we were awakened by a phone call from a friend of our daughter Taylor. 

Sounding frantic, she disclosed that Taylor had been involved in a horrible crash. As we arrived at the accident location, it was clear that a serious crash had occurred.  We were desperately trying to find Taylor and ask questions to anyone who would listen.  It was clear, in the demeanor of law enforcement and emergency personnel and in their eyes, that they didn’t want to give us the news.  After arriving at the hospital and waiting for what seemed like an eternity, we were told that our little girl was gone.  They had tried everything they could, but her injuries were just too catastrophic.

Later, we learned that Taylor had been working at her job at the liquor store.  Two firefighters decided to stop at the store for beer on their way home after they had been drinking heavily at another bar earlier that evening. While closing the store, the men had waited outside in the parking lot for her to leave.  They began to subject Taylor to taunts and unwanted flirtation which scared Taylor and caused her to flee the parking lot and head home. While at a red light behind another vehicle, Taylor was hit from behind by these men in a pickup truck at almost 70 mph, causing her vehicle to strike the vehicle in front of her. This killed Taylor instantly.

The impact of losing Taylor at 21 years old has been so painful.  I could try to describe the ugliness and emptiness but would never be able to adequately describe this awful pain.  Only someone who has lost a child would understand.  What once was a family who loved Christmas, is now a family that can’t wait for Christmas to end.  We miss our Taylor, we miss her smile, her kindness, gentleness, her love of animals.  We miss her warmth, and the way she cared for people who were less fortunate.

  1. What is your proudest achievement as a MADD volunteer?

Speaking at the victim impact panel and telling Taylor’s Story.  Each time I feel like I’m savings someone’s child from a drunk driver.  When drunk drivers approach me after the class and tell me how they will never drink and drive again after hearing Taylor’s story.  I leave the meeting feeling that if one person learns not to drink and drive that maybe I have saved someone else’s Taylor

  • This work can be hard. What gets you out of bed in the morning to further our cause?

Standing up and telling Taylor’s story is very emotional and draining each time but I know I will never stop fighting to change laws and protect others from drunk driver’s

  • How would you describe the work you do with MADD?

Very satisfying to give back and try to make a difference in saving lives.  The families that you meet are amazing people and we all have a story.  We are all missing our loved ones and just want to make a difference in drinking and driving

  • What is your favorite holiday and why?

Our favorite holiday after losing Tee is Halloween.  We now do a Halloween Barn Bash to raise funds for a scholarship in Taylor’s name.  The students must write an essay or drinking and driving. 

  • Pineapple on Pizza – Yay or Nay? What is your favorite pizza topping?

No Pineapple on pizza –  favorite topping is Pepperoni