The balloon release ceremony will begin at 6 p.m., according to Brandy Dockery, a Southeast Tennessee resident who is helping to champion the inaugural cause in Cleveland and Chattanooga. At the same time the balloons are released in Cleveland, another group will be doing the same at the Buffalo Wild Wings location in Hixson.
In a press release forwarded to the Cleveland Daily Banner, and in a telephone interview, Dockery pointed to the origin of International 1N3 Day which refers to a statistic linked to the number of families impacted directly by impaired driving.
Her news release references an automobile crash Aug. 1, 2011, that took the life of Kevin Daniel “Sunshine” Yates, a Buffalo Wild Wings employee, which is why the Hixson ceremony is taking place on the restaurant’s grounds. The other motorist involved in the Yates accident was charged with vehicular homicide by intoxication, reckless endangerment and driving under the influence. She was sentenced to eight years in prison with six years supervised probation and must volunteer with 1N3 at least twice a week for 90 days after her release, according to the nonprofit’s website.
Yates was the nephew of Crystal Yates-Richards who pointed out in the news release, “One in three of us is impacted by drunk driving. I became 1N3 almost a year ago. Tiki Finlayson, Kevin’s mother, and Derek Yates, Kevin’s brother, founded a nonprofit organization called 1N3, to bring awareness of the tragedy caused due to the choice of drinking and driving, and to provide addiction recovery and support in the grief recovery process.”
The family-driven initiative (balloon release), which has already grown nationally and globally, is open to the public at all locations, including Cleveland, Dockery explained. Families, friends, co-workers and others who have been impacted by impaired driving are invited to attend the first-time balloon release, she said.
“We want to bring a worldwide awareness of the dangers of driving impaired, and how many of us are 1N3,” Yates-Richards said in the news release. “This statistic needs to change. Our family is not the only ones impacted by an impaired driver. If you are a parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin or friend of a victim or the impaired driver, you are 1N3.”
Yates-Richards said the family’s intent is to make a “worldwide statement” by inviting all who are 1N3, and especially “... those who support those who have been impacted.”
Of the family’s loss, Yates-Richards pointed out, “It has been a long year for our family, and even though we are still mourning, and always will mourn the loss of Kevin, we are seeing great things through this tragedy. Kevin was an organ donor and through him four other families were touched.”
She said the family recently met with their loved one’s heart recipient, Rev. Melvin Ellis of Memphis. She said the Ellis family plans to attend the Hixson event.
According to the organization’s website, “Our mission is to bring drug and alcohol awareness, and [awareness of] the consequences due to making the choice of driving while impaired. Every day almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 48 minutes. With this awareness we hope to save lives by informing people with the information needed to make the choice to not get behind the wheel while impaired. We will provide addiction recovery for those that need the assistance in moving life beyond their addictions and grief recovery to aid those whose hearts have been broken by a loss.”
Questions about the 1N3 nonprofit organization, its global campaign or the balloon release ceremonies may be directed to 423-710-8754 or 423-402-0163, or an email may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.