Mother’s message carries session

Kim Knox of Pleasant Hope, Mo., talks about her son, Jarrod, Friday at the Save-A-Life Tour at the Eastern New Mexico University Campus Union. Knox’s son was killed in a drunk driving related accident in November 2005. (CNJ Staff Photo: Andy DeLisle)

By Mickey Winfield: Freedom Newspapers

Using a sophisticated machine that makes an experience seem real is one way to teach a hard lesson. But sometimes the best way to communicate the message is on a personal level from the heart.

That was the case Friday afternoon at the Eastern New Mexico University Campus Union Building at a DWI display before students celebrate St. Patrick’s Day today.

The National Make A Difference “Save A Life” Tour brought in its $2 million drinking-and-driving simulator to help participants experience firsthand the dulling effects of alcohol on driving ability.

The simulator never got a chance to teach its lesson because of technical difficulties.

Instead, it was a message from a mother who lost her son to a DWI accident in November 2005 that told the story.

Jarrod Knox, 18, was an ENMU freshman when he died 10 miles north of Clovis on N.M. 209. Since that time, his mother has made it her mission to give college students something to think about before they go out for a night of drinking and driving.

Kim Knox has spent the past eight months speaking at Jarrod’s hometown of Pleasant Hope, Mo., and all over that state about the dangers of driving intoxicated, and the loss of her son.

“There are probably 1,500 (people) a year that die (from DWI-related accidents),” Knox said. “I think the more awareness there is, the better it is. I know what I do seems to make a difference as the kids stand and listen.”

And since the “Save A Life” tour drinking-and-driving simulator was a dud, Knox and her message were the main event.

“I know the way Jarrod affected me, his friends at home and the kids here. And I know every kid here is important to somebody. Everybody loves their child like I loved him,” Knox said.

“You can’t make adults quit handing (alcohol) out. What I want to do is give kids an edge and make them a little smarter.”

Tonya Hale, 23, a student at ENMU and friend of Jarrod’s, explained why Knox delivers the powerful message.

“People don’t realize what can happen when they make the wrong choice,” Hale said. “And seeing it from the perspective of a mother who had to bury her 18-year-old child, it really affected many of the people who got to hear her speak.”
Knox hopes to travel to college campuses all over the country telling Jarrod’s cautionary tale.

“Whether it’s just one person or a thousand people, it helps her realize that she’s making a difference in at least one person’s life,” Hale said.