By Mrs. Melissa K Buckley (Leonard Wood)May 23, 2012
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- They call themselves the "shock jocks of anti-drunk driving." As part of the 100 Days of Summer safety campaign, the Save a Life Tour was on Fort Leonard Wood to present it's high-impact alcohol awareness program to troops.
"As long as I can reach one person I am happy with that," said Andrew Tipton, Save a Life Tour manager.
The tour uses a combination of posters, graphic videos, drunk simulators and displays -- including a casket -- to grab attention and introduce what they call a "high-impact" way of learning.
"It's weird seeing a casket. It makes you think about what can actually happen, the worst outcome," said Marine Pfc. Dillon Hughes, Engineer Equipment Instruction Course, Marine Corps Detachment.
Hughes isn't old enough to drink alcohol yet, but said the tour did have an impact on him.
"The toughest part was watching the segment about motorcycles. While I was away at boot camp, my best friend's father passed away in a motorcycle accident," Hughes said.
For members of the military, the Save a Life tour focuses its program on the affects tragedies can have on loved ones.
"They are use to seeing the graphic images. But, a lot of them are away from home. So, when they see a mom or daughter crying because a loved one died or was in a wreck that hits home because they don't want their families to go through it," Tipton said.
Hughes has two motorcycles and said he will not be driving them carelessly anymore.
"I used to be stupid and reckless when I was back home by driving high speeds and doing stunts with my friends. Now, I see how it effects other people," Hughes said.
Hughes described driving the drunk-driving simulator as "tough." He said it's like being sober behind the wheel of a drunk vehicle because the controls are slowed down to simulate slow reaction time.
"I definitely realized the difference between driving sober and driving drunk," Hughes said.
For several years the Save a Life Tour has been stopping in Fort Leonard Wood. Each year Tipton sees familiar faces in the crowd.
"There was a guy here yesterday, a Soldier, that has been here every single year, because he loves this program and he thinks it works. (The Soldier) said, 'Every time I see it, those videos keep me from driving drunk for an entire year.' It's a great feeling when I come back and people remember me," Tipton said. "I have a lot of troops come up to me and thank me for doing this."
One person may not sound like very many, but Tipton said that's all he has to reach to make a difference.
"We hand out wrist bands that say, 'I'll take the keys.' If just one person doesn't drink and drive, then it starts a chain reaction and they all make the right decision," Tipton said.
For more information about the Save a Life Tour, visit www.savealifetour.com.