“Those of you who are without sin cast the first stone!” That is a quote from the New Testament which sticks in my mind with the recent Vito Fossella headlines. The Staten Island congressman was arrested for drunk driving in Washington D.C and he publicly apologized for his error. I’m not going to deal with his transgression or make judgment on him; this column was started before his news made the headlines. The reason I am mentioning it is because prior to his arrest, I attended a luncheon that dealt with the very same subject, or should I say problem…DRUNK DRIVING!
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has a very effective chapter right here in Bensonhurst. Headed by Co-Presidents Mary Jane Marra and Marie Campanella, they run an annual luncheon to say thank you for the life-saving work that police do in stopping drunks that take to our roads and city streets.
MADD hosted their luncheon at the Bay Ridge Manor on 76th Street and 4th Avenue. Even with the larger catering hall, they still had to add two additional long tables to accommodate the huge crowd from the Brooklyn precincts, the Bronx and law enforcement officers from New York State.
I was seated with the representatives of the elected officials; Delia Schack representing City Councilman Domenic Recchia, Joe Carlucci representing Assemblyman William Colton, Kate Cucco represented Alex Brook-Krasny, Kwame Patterson from City Councilman Vincent Gentile, and Kelly Steier from Assemblyman Peter Abbate. They presented citations/award to the honorees. I’ve known Mary Jane Marra for several years since she came to the Bensonhurst West End Community Council through her block association. Aside from these Annual MADD Recognition Luncheons, she was also involved with the MADD mural on the Waldbaum’s supermarket on New Utrecht Avenue. Her co-president Marie Campanella is known in Bensonhurst/Gravesend as the Ice Cream Girl.
“MADD makes a difference in our community or any community that has a chapter involved with it.” It brings to mind the terrible consequences of drunk drivers. Deaths are the product of drunk drivers and these mothers don’t want you to ever forget it! MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving calls for: “Lifesaving alcohol ignition interlocks for all drunk drivers, sobriety checkpoints and/or saturation patrols, community support, development and exploration of advanced technologies that will one day make a vehicle inoperable by a drunk driver.”
Drunk driving is as dangerous as letting a child play with a loaded gun. It leads to accidents and death. Not only to the driver who may be in a drunken stupor, but to innocent people, whether they be pedestrians on the city streets or other drivers.
Consider this. Is it more newsworthy that a Governor resigns because he is gay? Or another Governor is caught with his pants down with a high-priced hooker or even a President’s affairs with a Washington intern…and then there are the latest headlines with Congressman Vito Fossella? Only one of these four politicians committed a life-threatening act. If the congressman’s arrest makes others stop and think, then his arrest was newsworthy; only because it prioritizes the seriousness of the offense and brings to the public’s eye the dangers of drunk driving. I’m certain that within our lifetime, many of us thought that we were okay to drive home when we shouldn’t have. That’s why the work of MADD is so important. We’re human, we tend to forget and we need these mothers to constantly remind us…if you drive, don’t drink!
Screech at you next week!