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MD Remembers Speech - Dec. 9, 2004  
 I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to speak to today.  Though I wish every day that I didn’t have this story to tell, I am compelled to share my story with those who will listen in hopes that someday impaired driving will stop taking the lives of our innocent loved ones.


410 days ago, on
October 26, 2003, my life was changed forever…


We had been at a Halloween party the night before with friends.  Janet’s friend, Samantha, had already asked several girls if they wanted to go to the market in the morning with her and her Grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Gizzi.  The teens didn’t want to go, because it required being up before dawn.  But my Janet volunteered to go because we had been at the orchard earlier that week and Mr. Gizzi allowed her to pick a box of apples for free.  She wanted to give something back for his generosity. 


When she came to me for permission to go, I told her no, because we go to church on Sundays, but my Janet rationalized herself and I eventually gave her permission.  I GAVE    HER PERMISSION.  That is something I have to live with the rest of my life.  So I drove the girls to Samantha’s house to spend the night.  I remember my Janet standing on the stairs and I looked up at her and I said, “I love you Poohbear”, because that is what I called her, my Poohbear.  She looked at me and said, “I love you Mommy”.  I told her I loved her again and she responded, “I love you Mommy.”  I said it one more time, “I love you Poohbear.”  She put her little hands on her hips and said “Mommy, Get out of here.”


That same Saturday night, another person was at a party.  Relatives admit to seeing him drink.  He was allowed to leave that party and he went to a bar where his girlfriend works.  They left the bar in separate cars and drove to get something to eat.  Around
3:30 am on Sunday morning, he decided to drive home.  He didn’t have to be driving either, because his girlfriend was there with him.  She was just one of many people who could have stopped him from driving. 


But she let him drive and at 3:54 am on October 26th, 2003, he crossed the centerline and he murdered Mrs. Gizzi and my child – my innocent Janet.  He also ended his own life. 


Janet was a friend to everyone that met her.  She loved me and her sister, Jessica.  She loved her dad, a Maryland State Trooper in Cecil County.   Janet loved her cat, Rascal.  She was an Honor Roll student with straight A's and wanted to go to college.  She was a Cadette Girl Scout, belonged to the Jr. Nat'l Honor Society and participated in the Challenge Program.  She excelled at everything she did.  She also loved soccer, and played her final game with her undefeated team only three days before the crash.  She was my baby, only 13 years old, and SHE DID NOT HAVE TO DIE!


Impaired driving is preventable.  Our police officers can only do so much towards getting impaired drivers off the roads, but what then?  You can give a person a loaded gun and they wave it around a crowded room and it accidentally goes off, it’s called murder.  But if you give a loaded person a car, and they drive it around on our streets and they kill someone, what do you call that?   


I’d like to thank Governor Ehrlich for making the awareness of impaired driving a priority in Maryland.  Through his leadership, and everyone working together to do their part, hopefully other families will not have suffer as most of us here have.


Let us take this day to remember our loved ones who were so senselessly taken from our lives.  We live with a sorrow that will never go away, with unanswered questions and unfinished dreams.


I know my Janet is watching over me.  She is my inspiration because she never gave up on something she believed in.


My Janet had written me a poem one year for Mother’s Day and it reads,


Mommy, oh Mommy did you know,

I need you more that winter needs snow!

I place you in my special place of my heart,

I know that we will never part!

I love you more than summer loves sun.

I love you pretty much, more than a ton!

You free me from pain,

You make it sunny and stop the rain!

You are in my heart forever,

So we will never part, NEVER!

I’d like to say to my Poohbear,

Right back at ya baby!


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