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Kicking a bad habit

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By Matt Birkholtz

Sitting at my fiancé’s farewell party from Home Depot, I noticed that one of the television’s in the Mellow Mushroom had the show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on.
I normally do not watch this show, as it can be heartbreaking to watch these struggling families deal with medical issues or worse, a loss of life.
The Jan. 30 show struck me while I was eating dinner, because the Brown family lost their daughter, Alex, in a car accident, as she was texting while driving and flipped her truck, killing her. She was just a senior in high school at the time of the accident.
Since the accident, the Brown family has traveled across the state of Texas, spreading the word to high school students about the danger of texting while driving. They have even started a foundation called Remember Alex Brown. This foundation has started a pledge that says that you will never text while driving. Emma Roberts, a Hollywood teen actress, was a guest on the show and talked about how it inspired her.
“I got a ticket last week for doing the same thing,” she said. “I will make sure I never do that again, because it is dangerous.”
Roberts also said that this story impacted her as well, because she has a 9-year-old sister and would feel terrible if something happened to her or her little sister.
According to the Web site Texting While Driving, it is reported that a driver is four times likely to get in an accident while texting, than they are while drinking and driving.
Kentucky banned texting while driving July 15, 2010. At the beginning of this year, first time offenders will get a $25 ticket and any offense after that will receive a $50 ticket.
Now I will be the first to admit that I sometimes text while driving, and it is a tough habit to kill, but seeing what happened to this girl, it struck a chord inside me. That could have been me.
From that moment on, I was glued to the television set, seeing what Ty and the other homemakers would do for this family.
They showed the emotional goodbye the Brown family gave to Alex’s room as it would no longer be there, but that her spirit would move on and not be forgotten.
During the construction of the new home, the Brown family got to vacation in New York with Alex’s younger sister, Katrina. While Ty and the others were working on the home, they found two messages from Alex on the day she passed away.
On her window in her bedroom, she had written a message to her mom. The Extreme Makeover: Home Edition team was able to preserve the message and framed it for her parents’ bedroom.
This episode has caused me to think of what habits I need to kick, which texting in the car is one I need to get rid of, because what is stopping me from becoming a statistic like their daughter.
(Matt Birkholtz is the sports writer for the Grant County News. He can be reached at mbirkholtz@grantky.com.)