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Time To CareBy
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It takes months of planning, preparation and coordination to pull off a successful Every 15 Minutes program and even though it's over within a couple of days, organizers hope the results are longlasting.

With a grant from the Office of Traffic Safety and countless donations of time, energy, food and expertise from a wide range of local agencies, businesses, community service groups and individuals, the program was staged Thursday and Friday at Escalon High School. This year marked the third time it has been put on and coordinator Kim Bohannon said she couldn't thank her committee enough in making the effort yet again to pull it all together.

"My committee is just phenomenal, I couldn't do it without them," she said.

In the years leading up to the program being offered here for the first time four years ago, there was a seemingly endless string of fatalities, with several students lost in just a few years.

It was enough to make people want to bring a change in the culture, in the attitude, if not in the behavior, of the students.

By getting students involved in the process of putting on the production, from playing parts in the crash scenario to being The Living Dead, their experience is then passed on to their friends, the information circulating like ripples on a pond touched by a pebble.

There's so much to talk about with this program that it's almost impossible to know where to start. One mom, after viewing the staged crash scene and emergency response on Thursday, breathed a sigh of relief that it was over. Her son was one of the 'walking wounded' from the crash. I had to break the bad news to her that the crash scene wasn't the end; it was just the beginning. Still to come would be the retreat for the parents of all those students taking part, where they would write letters to their children as if they had lost them to a drunk driver, saying those things they would have wanted to say had they had the time.

Having been through it before, I knew the video on Friday morning would start with upbeat music and happy scenes of life at Escalon High, then fade to black with the sound of screeching tires and a horrific crash, to be followed with the rescue operations and trips to the hospital, morgue, family homes for death notifications and more.

It's a gut wrenching experience, every time through. Kids find themselves drawn in and unable to contain the emotion. Parents are presented with the fact that this is a distinct possibility, if their kids choose to drink and drive.

For Josh May, who played the drunk driver, it was a tough decision to make to participate.