Conference encourages making right choices

Donelle Whiting

Several Washington teens had the opportunity to go to the Tazewell County Teens Unlimited Teen Conference at Illinois Central College.

The keynote speakers were Randy Arends of Gibson City and his son, Steve.

Arends, father of twins Greg and Steve, said his sons were on their way to school one day during their senior year five years ago when Greg lost control of the car and hit a utility pole at 79 mph.

Despite being told he would never walk or talk again, Steve is able to share his story.

It’s a story that, unfortunately, bears repeating over and over.

Granted the number of teen driving fatalities has decreased dramatically in the past two years.

It does not take much to lose control of a car, and there is never a guarantee the driver or passengers will survive.

The Tazewell County Health Department, in addition to other sponsors, has been putting on this conference for the past 19 years at ICC.

The focus of the conference is on teen safety, in any situation, and making right choices.

Teens may feel badgered and harped on, but all one has to do is look through police news to see some teens just don’t get the message.

Most adults have not forgotten what it was like to be a teenager.

There is no need to continue making choices that hasten the possibility of severe injury or death.

We hope organizations such as the health department, Tazewell County Teen Initiative, Illinois Department of Human Services and others continue to put out the message.

If we can reach one teen at a time then the time is well spent.