IRVING, TX — Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) announces its new National President, Helen Witty, effective Jan. 1, 2019. Witty joined MADD in 2000 after her 16-year-old daughter, Helen Marie, was killed by a drunk and drugged driver while rollerblading on a designated bike path near the family’s home in Miami on a clear June afternoon.
“I landed in MADD’s capable lap, completely shattered,” Witty said. “I cherish the opportunity to comfort those so deeply impacted by the crime of impaired driving, to listen to their stories and give the empathy and encouragement I received. It is our stories that hold the power and unite us.”
As president, Witty will serve as national spokesperson and chief advocate for MADD, which grew from a grassroots movement begun by a grieving mother in 1980 to one of the most influential and effective organizations in history.
“It is an honor to join the courageous voices who have used their passion to further MADD’s mission toward a future of No More Victims,” she said.
Witty spent 11 years as a MADD volunteer victim advocate and seven years as a staff member in Miami, sharing her story with school children, police officers, federal agents and hospital workers, among others. She has delivered MADD’s message in classrooms, churches, airports, seaports and to local and national television audiences.
“Since the unimaginable loss of her daughter, Helen Marie, Helen has devoted her life to stopping this 100 percent preventable crime,” said interim CEO and Chief Operating Officer Vicki Knox. “A compassionate listener and powerful storyteller, she has spent 18 years championing MADD’s mission to fight drugged driving and end drunk driving. Since the launch of the 2006 Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®, she has advocated for high-visibility law enforcement, ignition interlocks for all offenders, advanced vehicle technology and personal accountability.”
In addition to her work with MADD, Witty spent nine years as a Delta Air Lines employee and eight years as a college advisor in Miami-Dade Public Schools. She graduated from Virginia’s Sweet Briar College with degrees in Spanish and German. Witty lives in Miami with her husband, John, in the childhood home her father built. They have a surviving son, John, who resides in New York, where he is completing a Ph.D. in art history.
Witty follows Colleen Sheehey-Church, whose 18-year-old son, Dustin, died when the car he was riding in, driven by a teen with alcohol and drugs in her system, crashed into a river.
“We are grateful to Colleen, who for more than a decade has channeled her grief into a voice for change that has saved lives,” Knox said. “Colleen has demonstrated her dedication to the cause time and again, including when she stepped in to serve an additional year as MADD president.”
In addition to the election of Witty to MADD National President, the organization also selected the following new members to its National Board of Directors:
Don Egdorf. Don is a Houston police officer who specializes in drunk driving enforcement. He is a Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) and Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) instructor who travels across the country to speak about fatal crash cases, and investigative techniques he has acquired through his years of experience. While Don was in high school, his father, who also was a law enforcement officer, was hit by a drunk driver while on duty. Don’s father survived, and the experience inspired Don to join the law enforcement community. Throughout his own career, Don has been involved in five DWI-related crashes and investigated many DWI-related, line-of-duty deaths. Don has volunteered with MADD for many years and serves on the MADD Southeast Texas Advisory Board.
Nicole Hutchinson. Nicole has volunteered with MADD for 23 years. She worked with MADD to establish a chapter in her home state of Maine, where her little sister Darcie was killed by a three-time drunk driving offender on Sept. 13, 1996. She has raised more than $200,000 primarily through Walk Like MADD events in Arizona, Connecticut, North Carolina, South Carolina and Maine. A resident of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Nicole has been a MADD volunteer in North Carolina since 2004. She also serves on the MADD North Carolina State Board, is a victim advocate, and serves as Walk chair in both North Carolina and Maine.
Matthew F. Sacco. Matthew is a respected C-level executive, consultant and philanthropist with over 15 years of combined experience in politics, sports and entertainment. Matthew is passionate about eliminating drunk driving, advocating for impactful public policy and enforcement and helping people who are affected by the violent, 100 percent preventable crime. Matthew currently serves on the board of the Broward Sheriff’s Foundation in South Florida, is a Wish Granter for the Make A Wish Foundation Southern Florida Chapter and a former Man Of The Year for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in South Florida. He resides in Fort Lauderdale and is a state lobbyist for The Rubin Group.
Witty, Egdorf, Hutchinson and Sacco begin their official positions Jan. 1.
About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD has helped to save nearly 380,000 lives, reduce drunk driving deaths by more than 50 percent and promote designating a non-drinking driver. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® calls for law enforcement support, ignition interlocks for all offenders and advanced vehicle technology. MADD has provided supportive services to nearly one million drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP. Visit www.madd.org or call 1-877-ASK-MADD.
Contact: Becky Iannotta, [email protected]