A wooden Christmas tree on Rt. 58 isn’t about cheerfully celebrating the season — it’s a way to mourn lives lost on Lorain County roads.
Seventy-three people died on local roadway between 2014 and 2016, and alcohol frequently played a role. Alcohol has also been involved in nearly half the crashes that have caused 31 deaths to date in 2017.
Drunk driving deaths happen all year round, but the holidays are a particularly dangerous time.
Teens at the Lorain County JVS decided to make a public statement, teaming up with the Lorain County Safe Community Coalition and other agencies to spread the word about the deadly dangers of driving while impaired.
They built the eight-foot-tall tree and decorated it with evergreen swags and red ribbons symbolizing those who lost their lives this year on our roads due to alcohol related car crashes.
“The tree came out of an idea of wanting to have our kids involved in creating something that would commemorate those whose lives were lost on Lorain County roads and to also increase community awareness of the problem,” said principal Jill Petitti. “Throughout this project we had discussions with our students about what the tree represents and why driving safely and wearing your seat belt is critical. I think the tree is beautiful, but more importantly, it started the conversations with our students that maybe we wouldn’t have otherwise had.”
Students in career readiness and landscape and greenhouse management courses created the tree.
Meanwhile, marketing and management juniors documented the project as part of a Business Professionals of America project called Broadcast News Production Team, creating a mock newscast complete with video coverage and interviews.
The finished Christmas tree is on display on the front lawn of the Lorain County JVS at the corner of US 20 and Rt. 58 in Pittsfield Township.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol donated a safe driving banner to also serve as a reminder for all drivers to always drive safely and sober.