Editor's Note: Bailey Wind will be at the Mechanicville High School Wednesday May 14th at 12:00 Noon
by Harold Wessell
MECHANICVILLE, This Wednesday: Bailey Wind has a message to everyone, especially fellow young people, that she's been delivering in compelling personal testimonies, this summer, just home from her first year of college ñ one that two friends will never have.
It's about bad choices young people can make, and that they need to think about, and act about. It's about most of all how drinking or using drugs while driving, or texting while driving, are deadly.
All three of those are what authorities found Dennis Drue to have been doing when in December 2012 on the Northway he collided with a Ford Escort Bailey and three friends were riding in ñ two couples turning from a school game, three from Shenendehowa High School and she from Shaker ñ killing the dates of her and Matthew Hardy. Driver of their vehicle Christopher Stewart and Deanna Rivers were pronounced dead at the scene.
The Express spoke on Sunday with Dawn Wind, Bailey's mother, who spoke with obvious and articulate pride of how her daughter's several presentations she is making in schools this month. Despite all the news attention over an agonizing couple years for everyone affected, she wants to make sure they know: It's not about her.
It's FOR THEM.
This Wednesday at noon, after a morning talk at Burnt Hills High school, Bailey was escorted by Deputy Sheriff Kenneth Cooper Saratoga Sheriff Michael Zurlo's full time liaison to County schools to a similar presentation Wednesday May 14th noon at Mechanicville High School.
She goes next to Corinth this Thursday.
She wants to keep the focus on the program, not herself, her mother stressed. To assure that that priority would be clear, the two preferred that Dawn speak for her at that point, as she explained: "She does not want it to be about her, but throughout this effort she wants it to be why she is doing it, and the whole program" going on, at the same time, of the Sheriff's annual extra patrols and other pro-active attention-raising efforts during prom season. "To make sure the kids are safe," Zurlo expressed as his ultimate goal.
Bailey and they are working alongside one another, to raise the awareness and the courage of young people not to give in to what is getting harder and harder to resist ñ for kids AND adults locally (as illustrated in a recent series on heroin in this newspaper).
Reiterated Ms. Wind about Bailey's parallel effort, even more that on prom safety, it's about "making the right choices, and trying to get kids to think before they get behind the wheel." The purpose is to try to get to as many kids as she can, and let them understand how important it is not to drink and drive, not to do drugs and drive, not to text ñ "and the effect it's going to have on not only the person that they hit, but themselves, and their family."
Moreover, in these presentations, as part of calling on her peers to internalize that importance, "she also reveals in part of her speech some things that she went through while she was trapped in the truck," waiting to be rescued ñ there with two friends soon if not already to be declared deceased; insights into that time "that have not been made public knowledge, to get the young people kind of a sense of what she went through as a survivor." It is something very internal, that has not been out-there, she stressed. She spoke about it [publicly] for the first time last week; "and just how important it is for them to make the right decisions, and how badly it's going to affect them" if they do not.
Besides trying to reach as many kids as she can, adds her mom, she is doing all she is doing not only in honor of the four who were in that truck that night; "but in honor of every single person that has been affected, by that other driver ñ and to let them know that it's not cool to drink and drive; and that yes, she understands that teenagers can make bad choices; "but this kind of choice is something that you cannot reverse... It's a persuasive speech, about how [impaired driving] can ruin lives, not just the person's lives that they hit, but their own; and the community's."
"It's very powerful... Everybody in the audience was crying. It is very, very powerful."
The Express will cover Bailey's talk, and report further in next week's website and print edition.