BRAMPTON, Ontario, Sept. 09, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — MADD Canada’s National President Jaymie-Lyne Hancock has been part of several memorial monument ceremonies to honour impaired driving victims in other provinces, but today’s unveiling of the new Ontario Memorial Monument will be especially personal and emotional for her because it includes her brother D.J.’s name.
D.J. Hancock was on his way home from a hockey tryout in August 2014 when his vehicle was struck head-on by an impaired driver. His parents had been at the tryout, and they were on the road just a few minutes behind D.J. They came upon the crash scene and found their son pinned inside his car. D.J. died an hour later, still inside his car. He was just 18 years old.
“It means so much to my family that we can memorialize D.J. in this way,” Ms. Hancock said. “One of the most important things for victims’ families is keeping their loved ones’ memories alive and making sure their deaths were not in vain. We want to honour their lives and share their stories so that we can help prevent this senseless tragedy from happening to others.”
MADD Canada’s new Ontario Memorial Monument is located at Chinguacousy Park in Brampton, Ontario. It is engraved with the names of 137 innocent victims killed in impairment-related crashes. Visually, the Ontario Memorial Monument is an artistic representation of the guardrails on the side of a road. It is a continuous rail held by wooden slabs, upon which the names of Ontario victims are engraved. The guardrail is a symbol of how we protect and cherish the memories of the victims and support their families.
More than 250 family member and friends are expected to gather at the Monument unveiling today to see their loved ones’ tributes.
Joining MADD Canada today to support Ontario families and pay tribute to victims are: Brampton Deputy Mayor Harkirat Singh; Brampton Centre MPP Charmaine Williams; Peel Regional Police Inspector Wendy Sims; OPP Mississauga-Cambridge Detachment Commander Inspector Nicol Randall; Brampton Fire and Emergency Services Deputy Chief Andrew Von Holt; and Coast Tsimshian First Nations Elder Shannon Thunderbird.
Since 2009, MADD Canada has established Memorial Monuments for victims of impaired driving in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Quebec and, now, Ontario. Efforts are currently underway to establish Memorial Monuments in Prince Edward Island and British Columbia.
The Monuments are a powerful and lasting way to pay tribute to the innocent victims of impairment-related crashes, giving families and friend a place where they can honour their loved ones and offer support to one another. The Monuments also serve as a powerful reminder to the public of the horrific outcomes that can occur when someone drives impaired by alcohol, cannabis or other drugs. Each year, ceremonies are held at the Monuments to unveil new names that have been added.
“On behalf of MADD Canada and Ontario victims of impaired driving, we want to recognize the City of Brampton for providing this wonderful space for our Monument,” said Ms. Hancock. “The Council and City staff have been so committed and supportive in making this monument a reality. We offer our heartfelt thanks for their partnership in honouring victims of impaired driving.”
MADD Canada also wishes to thank the following groups for their partnership and collaboration in establishing the Ontario Memorial Monument and participating in the unveiling ceremony: Rutherford Contracting Limited; MADD Durham Region Chapter; MADD Niagara Region Chapter; MADD Toronto Chapter; the Peel Regional Police Chief Ceremonial Guard, Peel Regional Police Piper Constable Colin Bowers; and the OPP Ceremonial Unit.