In Tulsa County, the devastating impacts of drunk driving are being brought to light through a unique partnership between the Tulsa Health Department Regional Prevention Coordinator Program (RPC) and the Stop DUI Task Force. This year, community members are invited to share a photo of their loved ones lost due to a drunk driving incident as part of the annual Tree of Life holiday display at Woodland Hills Mall.
The Tree of Life has been serving as a poignant reminder of the families in Tulsa County who are missing a loved one during the winter holiday season due to a drunk driving accident since 2014. The tree features wrapped gifts as a symbolic reminder of the gifts that won’t be opened this year due to a family member who is no longer here. The number of gifts corresponds to the number of lives lost in Tulsa County due to drunk driving.
Kandice Lawson, Prevention Specialist at the Tulsa Health Department, emphasizes the importance of remembering the victims as people rather than just statistics. “Giving a face to the lives lost due to drunk driving can help us see the true impact that alcohol abuse can have in our community,” she said.
Visitors to Woodland Hills Mall can sign a pledge card near the Tree of Life and make a personal commitment to abstain from drinking and driving. People who consume alcohol should do so responsibly and make a plan for a sober driver or use a ride share service. Photos can be submitted digitally through the Tulsa Health Department website or physically dropped off at three locations of the Tulsa Health Department. Submissions can be made until December 8, 2023, with digital copies encouraged but all pictures welcomed. If submitting digitally, please include the name of the person in the photo using the name box provided on their website submission form. Physical copies can be dropped off at James O. Goodwin Health Center, Central Regional Health Center, or North Regional Health and Wellness Center during business hours between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm.