By Cheryl Harrison, Army Cummunity Service MarketingJuly 1, 2010
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Fort Sam Houston's Safety Office, together with Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, and Army Community Service presented a day of fun and safety awareness for Soldiers, Family members, employees and friends June 23.
This was the first time a Safety Day and Family Fun Day were held together and about 1,500 people enjoyed free food, beverages, pony rides and a petting zoo while attending safety demonstrations and perusing informational booths.
Col. Mary Garr, 502nd Mission Support Group/Garrison commander, welcomed everyone, focusing her comments on the safety aspects of the event.
"We talk about Soldier safety all the time, but we have civilians and a lot of activities involving Family members, particularly during the summer season. Take time to look at the serious side of this fun event. Anything to do with safety is about saving lives and keeping you safe and healthy."
A popular event, the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade's drunken driving simulation course may have seemed like fun. But it was an eye-opening experience emphasizing drinking and driving is an equation for death.
Participants drove golf carts wearing goggles that blurred drivers' vision equal to consuming two to three beers.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration an estimated 11,773 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2008. Drunk-driving fatalities accounted for 32 percent of all traffic deaths last year equating to a fatal, alcohol-impaired auto crash every 45 minutes.
When asked if he learned anything after driving the beer-goggle obstacle course, 10-year-old Justin Stevenson said, "I learned not to drive drunk!"
The Family Advocacy Program and the Safe Kids Program hosted a booster seat give away for parents. Children's weight and height were measured to be sure they met state regulations prior to parents getting a booster.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, state law requires all children younger than 8 years old, unless taller than 4 feet 9 inches, to be in child passenger safety seat system.
Sergio Perez, FAP employee and certified Child Passenger Safety Instructor, said, "It is very important that children have the right car or booster seat for their height and weight. Four out of five cars on the road today have improperly installed child safety seats."
Awards in a poster coloring contest for children included first place winners Brandon Andrews and James Washington receiving a bicycle, helmet and bike accessory each.
Second place winners Hope Hunnicutt, Jessica Washington with third place winners Araceli Higgins and Devante Knowlton received meal certificates and plush frogs. Theresa Whittaker won a bicycle in a separate drawing.
Scott Edgerton, attending with his wife Vicki, said, "This is great and we are enjoying a free lunch. We are glad we stopped."
(L.A. Shively contributed to this article.)