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Guilderland Archives The Altamont Enterprise, November 27, 2008
By Philippa Stasiuk
ALTAMONT Five hundred and ninety shoes will be displayed throughout December at the community center on Gun Club Road as part of a program to highlight DWI Awareness Month.
Each pair of shoes signifies one person who died from alcohol-related car crashes in 2007 and they are just one of the displays that comprise Choices 301, a program aimed at educating teens and young adults about the dangers of driving dangerously or driving drunk.
The program is the brainchild of Ed Frank Sr., a retired police officer, who lost his 45- year-old son to bowel cancer in 2005. Ed Frank Jr., who was also a police officer, enjoyed racing at Saratoga Speedway and had started a program to teach young people that speeding cars belonged solely on a raceway.
After his son’s death, Ed Frank Sr., an Altamont resident, decided to continue and expand the program.
“I was a fix-it guy and I couldn’t fix this one,” he said. “Grief affects people in a lot of different ways.”
The program is named after the younger Frank’s radio dispatcher number for police work, which was also his racecar number 301.
Along with volunteers, Frank now brings the Choices 301 Program to five counties and local colleges including The College of Saint Rose, Siena, and the Sage Colleges. He travels with up to three 28-foot trailers filled with pictures and video footage from crash scenes involving drunk drivers. There are also mock jail cells and coffins with mirrors inside to so that, according to Frank, people can say, “Wow this could be me.”
Frank will kick off DWI Awareness Month on Dec. 1 with a press conference at 11 a.m. The trailers and other displays will remain on the premises at 6378 Gun Club Road formerly the home of the Community Caregivers and will be available for viewing on the following dates: Monday, Dec. 1, from 5 to 9 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 7, from 1 to 6 p.m; Sunday, Dec. 14, from 1 to 6 p.m.; and Friday, Dec. 19, from 4 to 9 p.m.
On Saturday, Dec. 13, there will be a victims’ impact panel at 6:30 p.m. where people who have lost someone they love through drunk or dangerous driving will speak about their experiences. The event is limited to 50 people and reservations may be made by calling Frank at 861-8501 or 423-8426.
Judges often require those arrested for drunk driving to listen to a victims’ impact panel. Frank says that this panel will be an opportunity for the public to come, “free, of their own volition, instead of being mandated by the court. If parents have a young one giving them problems with alcohol, they can come and see the devastation, legal ramifications, and the cost factors of driving drunk.”