A phone call on Jan. 16, 1984, changed my life. The call was to go to the hospital. My mother, Eleanor Parker, worked as a CNA at St. Mary’s, and was heading home after completing her shift. She never made it — a drunk driver hit her car broadside and took her life. My wife, brother and I had the heartbreaking task of identifying her.

The weeks that followed are a blur. I do remember my sister saying that we had to do something. When she wasn’t shadowing District Attorney Janet Mills for information, she was meeting with members of Mothers Against Drunk Driving from Portland. She and I started a satellite chapter of M.A.D.D. for Lewiston-Auburn. We spoke to groups, did radio and TV interviews, planned projects, and tried to affect society in a positive way.

I am gratified with many changes during the past three decades. Now, many party-goers automatically arrange to have a designated driver. Commercials for alcohol often add reminders to drink responsibly. The public perception has changed about drinking and driving because of the tragic consequences we and others have suffered.

My mother raised four children. She had a heart of gold and would give anyone the shirt off her back. Her life had meaning and purpose but, as we mark the 30th anniversary of her loss, I would like to think that her sacrifice saved hundreds of lives, as well.

Michael Parker, Lewiston


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