Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

In preparation of Giving Tuesday


It’s become a bigger and bigger thing, Giving Tuesday. Put on by Facebook, it’s a day when nonprofits post about their organizations and ask for friends and familiy, and friends of their friends and family, to give a little to help. There are all sorts of nonprofits, and each one has a worthy story to tell.

Long time readers know our story, but we’re coming up on the anniversary and tomorrow is Giving Tuesday. It seems like a good time to tell it again.

In 2004, early in the morning of December 23rd, my dad was killed by a sleepy semi driver while on his way to the Atlanta airport with a ticket in his pocket to fly north for the holidays.

That’s the short and shocking version. The long version is just as shocking once you realize how preventable dad’s and so many other crashes are.

After dad was killed, and while we were trying to get our footing, someone found the Truck Safety Coalition online, and through them we found a truck crash lawyer who knew exactly what to do to protect our rights. Suddenly we had help.

And once all of that was settled some of us found that we wanted to help other families too, so we joined the Truck Safety Coalition to talk to folks who were facing the same sorts of challenges we did. We have two goals; we provide support to families who are just as shocked as we were and we educate lawmakers about the dangers on our roads. By doing both we provide a place for people just like us, living with unimaginable pain, to use their grief to make our roads safer.

It’s complicated, I know. Nothing is black and white, every regulation has unintended consequences. But every family I’ve talked to in the sixteen years since dad was killed wants the same thing we did way back then – we just want fewer families to have to go through the loss and grief we went through.

Just over 5,000 people died in truck-related crashes in 2019. Over 125,000 people were injured and trends are continuing to go up. Every time we hold our Sorrow to Strength conference I meet new families who are in the middle of crushing pain.

There are always new families.

Truck crashes are not Republican or Democrat, they don’t recognize any particular religion or faith, don’t care about race, ethnicity or gender. Truck crash survivors and families of victims who come to us for help become members of our truck safety family, and we know that within our family we are understood and supported. Even sixteen years after the crash.

Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday. I’ll have a post up on Facebook asking for donations to CRASH (Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways) which along with P.A.T.T. (Parents Against Tired Truckers) form the Truck Safety Coalition. Both CRASH and P.A.T.T are 501c3 nonprofits, and this year because of a Covid Relief Bill (the CARE Act), everyone is allowed to use up to a $300 charitable donation as a tax deduction even if you don’t normally get to deduct charitable gifts.

So I’m hoping some (OK a lot) of you will consider making that donation. This year we have two anomymous donors who are matching the first $10K we raise on Tuesday. So your $1.00 donation will actually give us $3.00!

Thank you for reading this, and looking at pictures of my dad. My brothers and sister and I miss him every single day, and always will. Sadly we know there are thousands of new families, just in 2020, that are missing their family members, or dealing with traumatic injuries too.

Please help us help them.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

27 thoughts on “In preparation of Giving Tuesday

  1. I’ve read about your efforts with this group. Sounds like a good cause.


  2. Dawn, I hope your group raises a bundle! You’re right — crashes that can be prevented, should be. Your dad must be so proud of your efforts. My heart breaks for those new to your group — I mean, 2020 has been sorry enough, without adding senseless death to the mix.


    • Sometimes it’s all too much to even understand, that 5000 people can die every year and yet change is so hard to achieve. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of people suffering injuries, most life changing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So many precious pictures of your dad. I am so sorry you lost him this awful way. But proud of how you’ve given so much of your heart to try and prevent this from happening to anyone else.


  4. Dawn–your dad would be so proud of what you are doing. I know I am.


  5. Such nice pictures! I will make a small donation. How can I find you on Facebook?


  6. How can we find you or where to donate on Facebook? Beautiful post, so very sorry for your loss and he would be proud of all that you’ve done for so many families. ❤️


  7. Oh I hope you raise lots of donations for this group.
    I’m so sorry for your loss… What wonderful pictures of your dad! He is proud of you.


  8. I am unable to locate you on FB. Can you help me out with that? I am so sorry about your Dad. You do so many amazing things to help, and are such an inspiration.


  9. I was driving down the 3-lane freeway near home at 11am this morning in my big white RAM pickup truck, on my way to get a haircut. I came up behind a semi rig that was weaving all over the road, left lane, right lane. I got in the right hand lane, which was the one he/she was running over into the most, and I matched his speed and just stayed there, a tad behind the truck, so that other vehicles couldn’t get in that lane beside that truck. I was trying to call the State Patrol on my cell phone, but also trying not to get in an accident myself. But after 4-5 minutes, another semi came ROARING up behind me. I just sat in that lane and still matched the wacko trucker’s speed because I didn’t want another semi to get hit either, but I turned my 4-way flashers on to let that other semi behind me know what I was doing. But then 2 minutes later, a second semi came ROARING up and then both of the rigs pulled up on the left side of that wacko semi and forced him over onto the right shoulder. I stayed in the right hand lane and slowed down, giving all three semis room and time to pull off onto the shoulder. As I passed, one of the good semis gave me a toot on his air horn and waved out his window. I suspect they will have words with that wacko driver. Thank you Dawn, for telling your truth, as much as it must hurt. I’ll send money, same as last year.


    • Oh Ann. You may have saved a life, you certainly stopped some crazy behavior. Good on those other two drivers too. Thank you for your support, financial and emotional. Yes it hurts, every time I tell the story. Even sixteen years later. I did a facebook – live interview and couldn’t keep from crying which frusrates me no end. Sometimes I get through the story, but more times, especially these last few years for some reason, I don’t. You’d think it would get easier, but what’s actually happening is that I’m realizing as year after year goes by that it’s not fixed and dad’s not coming back and this is reality. And reality sometimes sucks.


      • I don’t know what to do about the “it’s not fixed part” … it’s really frustrating that the people who could fix at least part of the problems simply aren’t listening or, at least, aren’t acting. But you speak … and you write here on your blog. Maybe none of us who read your blog would have known about the organizations you support … I wouldn’t have known about them. But I do now, because you shared your story and your Dad’s story. And now I’m sending money to those organizations, and I’m so much more aware … ha! even to the point of using my relatively small pickup truck to block a semi rig from driving up the right hand lane. Oh my that truck looked large in my rear view mirror. But in the end, he thanked me. And yes, maybe a life (or two) was saved that day, and that’s at least something, that you did because you made me more aware. There is improvement, absolutely. Not fixed yet, no. But a whole raft of people are working with you and are following in your footsteps. Crying must be what you do now when you talk about this in public, eh? That’s good. Love your family … and go camping with Katie. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  10. By sharing your story you are making a difference. Hope you raise lots of $ 🙂


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