POSTED: Saturday, December 7, 2013 - 9:40pm
UPDATED: Sunday, December 8, 2013 - 5:08pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — Mothers Against Drunk Driving hosted a special tribute event for families and friends of people who were killed or injured by a drunk driver. The goal: remember those who were lost or injured by drunk drivers while helping families through a tough season.
Lisa Jones has a hard time during the holidays.
"The holidays bring back so many beautiful memories yet my heart is just broken. That hole that I felt when I found out that he that same whole is still there. I found there is nothing that will fill it," Jones said.
Jones’ son Gregory died after a drunk driver crashed into a car Gregory was riding in.
“When this happens you don't know what to expect as far as the pain and the grief. Now I know that it's the kind of grief that last forever, “ Jones said.
Jones isn't alone in her pain.
Marcus Gaines also lost loved ones because of a drunk driver.
“I lost a mother a sister a niece and three of my nephews and a friend of the family and this is all
because of just one drunk driver,” Gaines said.
MADD officials set up a special “memory tree” at the Louisiana State Department of Motor Vehicles. The tree is filled with picture “ornaments” represents the those who lost their lives or were injured by a drunk driver.
During the event families come together to light candles for their loved ones and listen to each other stories.
"The families get together it's like a reunion. It's like a club they didn't want to be in but they understand each other's grief," Valerie Cox, with MADD, said.
"It helps especially you're hearing other family members tell their stories about how they lost their family members," Gaines said.
MADD officials say 241 people died in alcohol related crashes in Louisiana in 2012. Deaths they say could have been prevented.
“This is something we don't have to find a cure fore we have it. It's just being responsible,” Cox said.
“Don't do it,” Jones said. “If you're going to drink. I'm not against drinking, but if you're going to drink do it safely. Do it when you're not going to be driving or you're with someone who is not going to be drinking please I beg you.”
The memory tree also featured white lights. MADD officials said for every person killed in an alcohol related crash from Thanksgiving to New Year’s they will trade out a white light for a red one.
MADD officials said they are giving out red ribbons to go on car antae and car decals to help remind people not to drink and drive. You can pick up ribbons or decals to give out to your neighborhood at MADD’s office 2644 South Sherwood Forrest Blvd.