Every 15 Minutes someone in the United States dies from an alcohol-related traffic collision. On Monday, March 27, Holyoke simulated this event and "lost" 21 people. Thankfully, the events were all just practice. However, organizers Brook Prottsman, Austin Herman, and Tyler Lamm hope that the program will make a lasting impact.
The National Every 15 Minutes Program offers real-life experience without the real-life risks. This emotionally charged program is an event designed to dramatically teach teenagers about the dangerous consequences of drinking alcohol and texting while driving. This powerful event challenges students to think hard about drinking, texting while driving, personal safety, and the responsibility of making mature decisions when lives are involved.
On Monday, a high school student or teacher was pulled out of class every 15 minutes by the “Grim Reaper.” The student’s obituary, written by their parents, was then read to the class explaining the events that led to the student’s demise. The actual “crash,” which occurred around lunch time, featured five students staged to simulate a crash that resulted from drunk driving. Luke Krogmeier played the intoxicated driver, Jaxie Gerk simulated the phone call to the police, Shianne Willmon was an injured passenger who later died at the hospital, Cash Adler was Flight-for-Lifed out of the scene, and Brenden Mayden died on site. The emotional event was witnessed by the high school student body and the 21 members who were a part of the “Living Dead.” The student body watched the events unfold as the Holyoke Police Department, Holyoke EMS, and Philips County Sheriff arrived. Krogmeier received a roadside sobriety test and was taken to the Philips County Jail. Gerk was comforted treated for shock by the EMS. After Mayden was declared deceased by the coroner, his obituary was read to the student body. The entire community was involved and the scenario was treated like a real-life situation.
Brook Prottsman explained that the group started planning during the summer of 2016. There were regular meetings with Kay Schmidt, the Victim’s Advocate; Susan Ortner, the Holyoke JR/SR High School principal; and many more people to decide how to best implement this powerful program. At the beginning, they talked logistics and made small steps to set everything up. By Christmas time, the team was meeting once a week with leaders from all over the community. They began to attack bigger aspects of the project, contacting companies and other agencies. Below is a list of sponsors that the Every 15 Minutes team would like to thank tremendously. The team met with these sponsors and explained their project and its merits as they applied for help. The ultimate goal of this project was to save one life. Prottsman said, “It’s hard to measure because there aren’t people coming up to you on the street saying it. But if we could make a difference in one life, save one life, then the project will have been an immense success.” If you would like to share your testimony and talk about your experience with Every 15 Minutes, please email Brook Prottsman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Phillips County Commissioners
Holyoke City Council
Holyoke Fire Department
Holyoke Police Department
Northern Colorado Health Department
Phillips County Sheriff’s Office
Northeastern Junior College EMS Program
Northern Colorado Medevac
Kim Killin- Judge
Bev Sanburg- Speaker @ Assembly
Susan and Dan Ortner
Colorado State Patrol
Bauke Funeral Home
HHS Ag Department
Holyoke TV Productions Staff