Dozens a walkers gathered at the track outside of Detroit Lakes High School in support of the Becker County chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving on Friday.
The county MADD chapter participated in a statewide fundraising, 'Walk Like MADD,' event on Aug. 26. The group organizers targeted a goal of $7,500 to raise for the non-profit and exceeded their goal with the support of more than 60 registered walkers.
"I think we can all agree that we don't want any more lives lost," said Stefanie Hurt, Becker County MADD program manager, during the opening of the event. "That's why our fundraising efforts are so important, MADD offers victim services free of charge … and it's because of sponsors and you that we can continue our mission and put an end to impaired driving."
- RELATED: For more information on community events, check out our Community section.
Hurt said the donations will stay locally to help keep the county's MADD programs free of charge and also reinvigorates their community fundraising efforts since most events were cancelled in 2020.
"There's victim services provided to everyone throughout the state, that's not just Becker County, that's everyone throughout the state," said Hurt. "We have victim advocates that come into the county to help individuals, so that'll be like if someone has been impacted by drunk driving, impaired driving, underage drinking, if anyone is hurt that way, we come in and help them."
She added that her and her other organizers pulled the fundraising walk off together with only one month to plan. They initially wanted to do the walk on the streets of Detroit Lakes, but didn't have the time to go through the permitting process for the street closures, public facilities and other requirements necessary for a street event, so they decided the high school track was the next best thing, which turned out to be a huge success, she said.
Outstanding individual fundraisers were also recognized during the event opening. In memory of Lindsay Cardinal, $2,337 was raised and the team, Remembering LMC, raised an additional $3,468. Tara Griess, the Becker County MADD Victim Impact Panel coordinator, raised $1,250.
"It's amazing, I'm really happy," said Griess. "I was very nervous and anxious about this event, I thought maybe 20 people would show up and this support has been overwhelming."
Walkers of all ages participated in the event and even pets were welcomed onto the track to join their owners in the community fundraiser. Participants walked, ran and strolled around the track for more than an hour.
During the walk, remembrances lined the track with tributes to individuals who died as a result of impaired driving over the years.
"You can't walk around that track without being somehow impacted to see those signs," said Hurt.
The Becker County MADD chapter will be holding another victim impact panel at the Holiday Inn in Detroit Lakes on Sep. 15 at 6:30 p.m. Members of the public are encouraged to attend the event, which will highlight the stories of panelists and how they were impacted by impaired driving.