Soldiers and leaders from 49th Transportation Battalion and Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, participated in a Safety Stand Down event at the Spirit of Fort Hood Chapel Friday. 

The event was organized by the 49th Trans. Bn., featured speakers from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the 13th ESC Safety Office, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Fort Hood Army Substance Abuse Program.

“We use this day to educate Soldiers on the dangers they can face out there on the roads,” Donnie Robinson, 13th ESC safety officer, said.

“Keeping these Soldiers safe is our priority and organizations like these can help.”

MADD’s Rita Hill has been involved with the program for 26 years and sang a song for the Soldiers and leaders in attendance.

After the song was over, Hill shared with the group she sings the song with families at crash sites where they have lost a loved one; the sites where white crosses are left.

Hill urged Soldiers to do all they can to protect themselves, the people around them, and not drive under the influence.

“This is your community,” Hill said. “What you do in it affects us all. Let’s make our highways safer for my family and your family.”

After being with the program for over two decades, Hill has seen the damage drivers under the influence do to families, and it’s something she wants no one to have to go through.

“There is nothing more impactful than listening to a mother on how a drunk driver changed and affected their family,” Hill explained.

Next, Hill introduced MADD’s Nancy Pratt. Pratt has been with the program for six years since a drunk driver took her daughter’s life during a vehicle collision.

After passionately sharing her story to the Soldiers and leaders in attendance, she made a heartfelt plea to those in attendance.

“We’re here to ask you to please not drink and drive,” Pratt said. “It’s all we’re asking of you. We’re not asking you to not drink. We appreciate everything you do. You put your lives on the line for us every day. Please don’t do it on these roads.”

After Pratt and Hill passed out MADD red ribbons as a reminder of their message, Army veteran and Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Ruben San Miguel spoke to the Soldiers and echoed a similar message.

“For you to do all the stuff you’ve done for the country and continue to do, and then die on these roads is a great loss,” San Miguel said. “Make good decisions out there.”

San Miguel spoke to the Soldiers on the many dangers out there on the roads such as impaired driving, speeding, seatbelts and one that is becoming one of the most deadly road hazards in Texas.

“Fatigue accidents are far too common,” San Miguel said. “Don’t depend on caffeine and energy drinks. There is nothing more important than getting your rest.”

Before he left, San Miguel had one last piece of advice to share with the group.

“At the end of the day, we have to look out for each other,” San Miguel pleaded. “When people drive distracted, it’s dangerous. There is nothing more important than looking and paying attention to where you are going.”

49th Trans. Commander, Lt. Col. Travis L. Sept presented the guest speakers with awards to express the command’s gratitude for speaking with the Soldiers, and urged those in attendance to remember what they heard from the speakers.

“Make sure you think about what you heard and saw today, and share it with your battle buddies,” Sept said. “Be safe out there.”