Annual VIP memorial service remembers, honors victims of alcohol-related crashes

“Forgiveness is the healing answer.”

That’s the message that Angie Mardino-Miller brought to approximately 30 people who gathered on the steps of the Warren County Courthouse for the annual memorial service hosted by the Warren County Victim Impact Panel.

The memorial coincides with National Crime Victim Awareness Week, which runs April 21-27.

The event honors and remembers the victims of alcohol-related automobile crashes.

“Everyone loses if there is no forgiveness,” Mardino-Miller said. Citing more than 30 years of experience as a trauma nurse, and the pain, heartache and sorrow she sees in that role, she explained her belief that if DUI offenders would be requires to work in a trauma emergency room for a year, “second offenses would go down 90 percent.”

“How can one wrong choice effect so many lives?” she asked.

Warren County District Attorney Ross McKeirnan read a proclamation by the Warren County Commissioners that marked April 22 as a “day of commemoration and remembrance” of the countless lives affected by drunk driving.

According to the proclamation, intoxicated driving takes the lives of approximately 500 Pennsylvanians every year. In Warren County, an average of five residents each year are killed in alcohol-related crashes.

Members of the Warren Area High School choir were on hand to sing and a poem was read entitled “Never A Day Passes That I Do Not Remember.” The poem highlighted all of the things the author remembered about the loved one he lost while also expressing regret that the passing of time can make those things much harder to remember.

The Warren County Victim Impact Panel was formed in 1994 and started as a support group. The VIP now includes education and awareness efforts, including presentations to people in Warren County who have been convicted of DUI-related offenses.