Walk Like MADD
Thursday, April 09, 2009 4:50 PM
Two four-legged creatures stole the spotlight at last Saturday's annual Walk Like MADD event.
They were METRO's K-9 police officers, Roxy and Shadow. They, along with their handlers, Officer Chris Obenland and Officer Nancy DeMartin, joined the Mothers Against Drunk Driving fundraiser, a 5K walk that not only promotes awareness of the group's goals but is the only major fundraiser for the Southeast Texas MADD office.
"We provided the dog demonstration - on how they apprehend suspects," said Obenland. "The idea is to make it fun for kids to come out here to see other angles of law enforcement. Our main purpose was just to show law enforcement support."
Television host Deborah Duncan of KHOU-TV's Great Day, Houston, appeared at the event and had her photo taken with our furry celebs - Roxy and Shadow.
"The dogs are the sexy ones," texted Duncan when asked her reaction to Saturday's event.
Duncan has been very involved with MADD since her brother was killed by a drunk driver. She is a member of the local advisory council, as well as a MADD national board member.
The walk was held at McGregor Park on Calhoun, where about 450 to 500 people attended, said Andrea Schmauss, a volunteer with MADD and member of the local advisory council.
"It gives families and friends an opportunity to honor their loved ones who have been killed or injured by a drunk driver. We provide a tribute area where families can display photos of those tragically taken through this senseless crime," said Schmauss.
In addition to MPD's involvement, the Houston Police Department also participated with DWI vans, which are mobile blood-drawing units. This van can drive to the scene of an accident, and someone can draw blood from the alleged drunk driver and "haul him off to jail," explained Obenland.
Walk for MADD organizers said it's important to have law enforcement agencies participate in an event like this.
"For some, it is an opportunity for (families) to interact with law enforcement in a comfortable, fun setting. And for others, it is an opportunity to say ‘thank you' for risking their lives for us each day," said Schmauss, adding that she hopes more law enforcement agencies will join in future walks.
"We cannot win the fight to eliminate drunk driving without law enforcement. They are the primary defense until technology can, one day, come up with a way to make the vehicle smarter than the drunk behind the wheel," said Schmauss.
And as far as METRO's representation there? Well, Schmauss said Roxy and Shadow not only stole the show.....they stole the hearts of many.