Chamber’s Bowie plans disappointing

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 25, 2008

I am not here to be a person who attends few events, yet raise my voice when something I don’t like goes on. I have attended the Jim Bowie festival for many years now, my children have ridden many rides and the youth group from my church has rented a booth at this event and others to do fundraisers.

I support the Jim Bowie festival, as I do any community event.

However, last year I noticed the changes coming. My statements today are not to fuss about the business that had a liquor stand last year. My issue today is with a public entity promoting an environment that is dangerous to people’s lives.

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According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving statistics, in 2006 more than 15,000 people died in alcohol related auto accidents. That is one person every 33 minutes. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2005, the leading cause of death among teenagers was auto accidents, of which 25 percent showed alcohol in their blood.

I would imagine that the majority of people have felt the pain of losing a loved one due to an accident of some sort that involved alcohol.

Even with all the proven data, this information alone is not my reason for being disappointed with the Vidalia Chamber of Commerce.

I am 29 years old and a father of 3. Today, as I see the chamber’s decision, I think of myself as a teenager, and how I too used to drink alcohol. I think of how I started drinking because I thought it was the cool thing to do because of the people older than me who drank.

There were many times when I should have been seriously hurt and killed from dumb decisions I made while under the influence of alcohol.

At 19 years old I gave my life to Jesus Christ, because I realized that He had paid such a high price for me and for my freedom, that I didn’t have to depend on the alcohol to have a good time, to cope with a stressful situation or even just to be social.

The common statement given is, “we all drank as kids and we turned out OK.”

I beg to differ. If everyone turned out OK, then Alcoholics Anonymous wouldn’t exist. If we all turned out OK, then many children would not live in abusive homes as a result of a parent who drinks to much. Lastly, if we all turned out OK, then we would not have a drug problem in our country, since the first drug a user will take is almost always alcohol.

As a Christian, youth pastor, former drinker of alcohol, husband and parent, I am disappointed in the Vidalia Chamber of Commerce and the message they are sending to our young people. As a parent, I hope for the safety of my own family, that the chamber will change its mind about the message it is sending and the endangerment it is placing on my family. I understand a person who sells alcohol doesn’t care about my family, but I would expect the promoters of my town to promote a safe living environment for all family.

The Vidalia Chamber of Commerce may only want to sell beer, but it very rarely stops with just a beer.

Danny Reed

Vidalia resident