The Memory of Trooper Iwaneic

The+Memory+of+Trooper+Iwaneic

Julia Battaglia, Online Editor

 

Twelve years ago a memorizing event had been started to raise awareness for something that happens way too often. The event is a race to raise money and awareness for  drunk drivers. Drunk drivers most times do not realize the consequences of their actions and the way it can affect many lives. From one of our own in Latrobe Mrs. Houck’s brother Kenton Iwaniec sadly was involved in a situation like this. Kenton was working when someone had been drinking and decided to try and drive home and ended up crashing into him. Sadly, for Kenton he did not survive when the drunk driver had crashed into him. There are many other situations happening everyday just like this, and it could be prevented in so many different ways. After this accident had happened his family wanted to raise and spread awareness about drunk driving. They did so by creating this race to raise money. 

 

Brining awareness to this issue can help save many lives just by showing people that they should be thinking about their actions before they do certain things. This event has brought awareness to many people and has really opened there eyes to this issue. Kenton’s sister Mrs. Houck said, “Each year, over 10,000 families are destroyed by impaired drivers. Kenton’s death has changed our family forever. By honoring Kenton’s life and raising awareness of the dangers of impaired driving, we hope that we can prevent other families from going through what we have experienced. Making responsible choices is a simply way to prevent this great loss of life,” Houck expressed. This event was created to help raise money, but also help people realize that they should think about driving after they have been drinking when they know it’s not the right decision.

 

They money raised is helping prevent people from the cause of drunk drivers. Houck said, “Since 2009, our foundation has raised over $950,000 and purchased over 2,000 preliminary breath testing devices (PBTs). We have distributed the PBTs to law enforcement officers across Pennsylvania,” Houck explained. By purchasing these devices it can help law enforcement find the drunk drivers on the road a little easier and try and stop before something would happen if they would drive any further.

 

The event is held every year at Saint Vincent in the spring. Last year due to the covid-19 pandemic, the event took a virtual approach to still spread awareness and carry through with tradition. Each year, the boys and girls lacrosse teams participate in this race to show their support as well as bond with their team during the spring season. “This event is a way for us to show our support to the greater latrobe community, and it feels good to make a difference and change to spread awareness and donations to the cause of drunk driving,” Lacrosse player Lily Keslar said.

 

With that being said there has been reduction in the number of drunk driver accidents and it may or may not be because of this event, but this event definitely had an impact. “Since Kenton’s death in 2008, Pennsylvania has seen a 48% reduction in DUI deaths and there has been 11% reduction nationwide. We hope that through our foundation’s efforts, the work of law enforcement, and community awareness that we are making a difference and the numbers will continue to decline,” Houck stated.  This reduction has  helped saved lives in more than one way. In memory of Kenton this event has raised so much awareness for around this area and many people within the community come out for the event to support the cause.