Why We’re Here: Melody Ann Flowers Missildine
Melody was a compassionate 22-year-old with a promising future. She was a junior at Union University in Jackson, TN, majoring in Elementary Education. But, she had already been offered a position with Memphis City Schools and Memphis City hospitals to serve as a coordinator setting curriculum for homebound and in-house students in hospitals as soon as she graduated. Her career choice was no surprise: She grew up with a heart of service and a love of reading. She was active in youth groups, had been a Girl Scout, had served as a Girls’s Auxillary leader at her church, and was a very active church member. Her favorite thing to do was read. So much so, that if she didn’t have something new to read, she would just re-read something she already had!
She was a devoted mom to her 3 year old son, Drew. She loved spending time with her family, especially her Aunt Beth! She spent every Easter her entire life with her Aunt Beth! And one of her closest friends was her cousin, Angel.
In fact, on November 23, 1996, she and her husband, Ray, and their son Drew, had just finished having dinner with family, Ray’s parents, and were on their way home when they encountered the unthinkable. Two drunk drivers were drag racing on an overpass at an estimated speed of 75-100 mph. Ray, who was driving, saw the oncoming vehicles, but was blocked by a guardrail with nowhere to go. All he could do was stop their vehicle and brace for impact. He turned to Melody and said, “We’re gonna be hit.” Those were the last words she would hear. One of the vehicles ended up on the top of the Missildine’s car. The drunk driver who hit them, ejected through his t-tops, was killed. The other drunk driver kept going, never stopping after witnessing the impact.
It was 10:05pm on a Saturday night when Melody’s parents, Stan and MaryAnn Flowers were called and told they needed to get to Lauderdale County Hospital, about 30 miles away, as soon as possible. When they arrived, they were given the news that their 3-year-old grandson had been killed in the crash. Hours passed before they learned that their daughter, Melody Ann, had also been killed.
Stan and MaryAnn say Melody will never be forgotten! They still stay in touch with her best friends, Amy, Amy, and Jennifer. But they say that everything changes after you lose a child. Life is completely different. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the crash that changed their family forever. “Your priorities change. We are not the same people today that we were 20 years ago,” says MaryAnn, “Time does not heal, it only helps you deal!!!”
Her parents say Melody was a crusader. She fought for the underdog and if she believed in something, she fought for it. Stan and MaryAnn say she will always be alive in their hearts. And that certainly seems to be true! For the last 20 years, they have fought to stop drunk driving, sharing their family’s story as MADD volunteers with offenders, in schools, and at community events, believing that if they can change even one person’s choice to drink and drive, they can save lives. They fight for the underdog, for the innocent, just like Melody would have, believing that they can and MUST do something to make a difference! Melody’s fighting spirit and compassion live on through her parents who have given her a voice. A voice that begs #NoMoreVictimsTN!