Empty shoes a symbol of lives lost to drinking and driving
Published Saturday, June 14, 2014 5:04PM MDT Last Updated Saturday, June 14, 2014 6:40PM MDT
More than 1,800 pairs of shoes were placed in Mitford Ponds in Cochrane on Saturday morning to represent the average number of Canadians killed each year by drunk drivers.
According to Families for Justice, the group which organized the event, an average of nearly five Canadians each day are lost to impaired driving.
Family members who have lost loved ones walked amongst the shoes, remembering the victims and consoling one another. Bob Rinas, a resident of Wainwright, Alberta, drove five hours to participate in Saturday’s memorial. Rinas’ brother was killed by a drunk driver on June 15, 2013 and he believes it’s time to toughen impaired driving lies.
“It saddens me how politicians know this is going on and do nothing about it,” said Rinas. “It’s very heartbreaking this goes on, on a daily basis.”
Organizers say they’ve been overwhelmed with the support the initiative has received. The group originally asked for 1,800 pairs of donated shoes and Canadians came through with more than 4,000 pairs.
“Overwhelming gratitude,” explains Kim Thomas, whose 17-year-old son was lost to an impaired driving near Cochrane. “This is a cause people are willing to stand up for and acknowledge it’s a serious crime.”
Families for Justice has created a petition asking for tougher impaired driving laws and mandatory minimum sentencing.