By Jeanie Summerville
Whatz up, babies?
I hope that all is well with you and yours and that, you’re still taking time out of your days to bring some joy, happiness and beauty to yourselves and to others, as we travel on our journey of love to get to know one another better. On that note, we bring to you this week’s spotlight and she’s a remarkable women that has been through a lot these past years and everyday she’s taking a STANDD, in hope, of awareness so that, you and/or your loved ones don‘t have to go through what she is.
And, it pleases me to bring her to you this month because she informed me that this month is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and that the U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, announced that the Department of Transportation along with law enforcement kicked off the first ever national advertising campaign to crackdown and combat distracted driving. As part of this effort, television, radio and digital advertisements using the phrase U Drive, U Text, U Pay ran from April 7 through April 15 and it had coincided with a nationwide law enforcement crackdown in states with distracted driving bans. So at this time, all we want you to do is just sit back, relax and feel the heart, mind, body and soul of Diveeta and this is what she has to say:
“Hello, Frost Illustrated readers. My name is Diveeta Thompson, I’m the founder and executive director of Rock Solid 626, which is a nonprofit organization that was established about five years ago in an effort to saves lives, promote purpose and empower people to live purposely by not texting and driving distracted. STANDD, is a program that runs underneath this nonprofit program and was initiated after I lost my son Rodney, due to a texting while driving accident, on Oct. 17, 2008. It stands for, Stop Texting And Driving Distracted.
“Before this tragedy happened, my life was so different. I had worked for Wells Fargo Bank for 15 years at that time and I felt like I was living the American Dream because I had a nice job, a nice home and my children were doing well in school and we were happy. But now, I’m not the same person anymore and I look at life differently. I also have to experience happy in a different way and that‘s challenging. Everyday I miss my son and everyday I wake up knowing that I have to press forward and be happy for my daughter. I must also exemplify faithfulness and belief for her because I tried to instill that in them and it’s hard to do sometimes. It’s the most difficult thing that a parent can experience, having to adjust to life, without someone that’s so intricately interwoven in your heart, soul and in your being. He was my oldest, my first born. He was my only child for 11 years and he was only 18 years old when it happened. The worst thing that could have happened, is if, at that time we were at odds. But, I just praise GOD that we weren’t and on that day, he had hugged me, kissed me on my cheek and told me that he loved me, we had laughed and it was a great time that we experienced.
“How it happened? He left home to go and pick up a girlfriend on that Friday night and we were going to have movie night. It was also homecoming night at his school but before he left home he said, ‘Okay, Mom, I’m going to introduce you to this young lady and we’re going to watch a movie.’ But, with him being Mr. Popular, many people were calling him to see where he was going and what he was doing and that was his distraction. He had too many things going on and trying to access his phone to respond to the multiple request of calls and text messages he was receiving and that‘s how it happened. I was expecting him to come home to us and he was only five minutes away. But, what if I had not hugged my son before he left? What if we had not shared that moment? What if it had been an adverse time and that was my last time to see him? And, I find joy that it didn’t happen that way because you don’t want to be left with that last time being a negative, that only prolongs your healing in missing your loved one(s).
“His loss is very hard sometimes for me and to give you an example, on Easter Sunday, me and my daughter had gone to church and out to dinner with family. We had a very joyous day and the weather was gorgeous but on our way home, one of the songs that was played at his home going celebration came on and the pain came inadvertently. The pain also comes through different sightings. I also happened to ride down the street where he had his accident and someone else had hit it too at that very location. There’s occurrences happen all the time and I wish it didn’t have to be this way but for every child that experiences demise in an untimely manner, I feel that pain. The young lady that was just killed a few weeks ago, the Nellums girl, once a parent experiences that kind of pain, it’s unlike anything else. I’ve lost grandparents, my dad and others that were very close to me but there’s nothing like losing a child—nothing.
One of my favorite Bible scriptures that helps me is Roman 8:28 which reads: ‘All things work together for the good, for those, who love GOD and are called according to HIS purpose.’ So, that’s my desire, to encourage others not to take life and loved ones for granted. Live life as purposeful as possible because each day truly is not promised. Don’t sweat the small stuff, forgive, love and try to enjoy the people that GOD has blessed to be apart of your life. Use the gifts and talents that you’ve been blessed with to be a blessing to yourself, others and to enrich our community and our world.
“When I was creating my son’s obituary, I looked for poems as a reflection of him and I found a note that my sister had written stating the characteristics that she would miss and I took that and prayed about it and asked GOD that my son’s death not be in vain. And, I thanked HIM for allowing me to use my voice, my energy and my pain to help others stop their texting and driving behavior. Before my son’s death, there were no campaigns for awareness and to see it evolve to the extent that it has today, is a beautiful thing. Lives are being saved. And, I’d like to think that I had something to do with that because I initially spoke out in December 2008 with my first interview and since then, many campaigns have been launched locally and various other locations, as other people have lost their lives or their children or family members and friends. So it’s a blessing because the more awareness the merrier in an effort to help individuals understand the devastation that results from their actions. We have also encouraged individuals to stop texting and driving distracted by giving scholarships over the past five years trying to empower them through education because knowledge is power and people perish for lack thereof.
“I thank GOD for the opportunities that I’ve had through my sponsors and their support in our efforts and our cause. I’ve gotten to travel to a lot of places to promote STANDD and have the people sign pledges saying, they won’t text and drive because of my affiliation with Duncan Ende, a racecar driver and other sponsors that have helped us. I was also able to be on the Oprah Winfrey show for part of her No Phone Zone Campaign and I was also apart of Parkview and Lutheran Hospital efforts in their stop texting and driving campaign. It’s just tremendous, to step outside of Fort Wayne and to go places to promote the cause and on May 3rd 2014, I’m going to Monterey, Calif., since Duncan has to race there and he invited me. I attend all of his races and I encourage the attendees not to text and drive and to sign the pledge. This is a platform, that I’m not sure, if it’s been experienced in other avenues but I’m thankful for that and I’m thankful for every signature that I’ve acquired. I’m also thankful, that I’ve been able to talk to people that have had tragedies themselves, that’s a blessing and it’s therapeutic.
“There’s also the Brickyard race that’s in Indianapolis the weekend of July 24, 2014 and I’ll be there as well, to promote STANDD and I hope to do it on a large scale. Being able to see the national attention that don’t text and drive is getting. is phenomenal. Here in Fort Wayne, it’s very visible with the different causes that has marched here but outside of the community, it’s been a blessing to go where the message isn’t being promoted so loudly. And, whenever I go to the race track it’s wonderful because I’m actually up close and personal, where the drivers are and it’s been a tremendous blessing to people. At one time, Duncan was a part of Patrick Dempsey’s team so I was able to meet him and he also signed my pledge. There’re just a great group of people that I’ve been able to meet, that have been very supportive of the cause.
“Truly, before all of this happened, I was guilty as well—thinking that I had to address every call or message that I received while driving and not realizing the ramafications of my actions. So, if I can encourage others to change, they won’t have to experience life as I do and that’s a blessing in itself and it’s very rewarding.
“The way my business name Rock Solid 626 came about is, my son’s nickname was Rock and he was a solid young man that was born June 26. So, in the spirit of who he was, which was a very loving, cheerful, intelligent and encouraging young man, may his love and spirit continue to live on. I’m in this for the long haul and I’ll go wherever GOD may take it and allow me to go. I also want to encourage others who has lost a loved one because it’s a journey unlike any other . So, I hope to continue my 501c3 and invoke a program to touch people in a positive way, that are in that journey of greif and encourage them to press and believe that they can somehow get through.”
Now in closing I say, great job, Diveeta! I’m so proud of you and I know that Rodney is too. It was nice seeing you again, as always. So until next week, you’ve been Up Close with Jeanie. Bye, bye babies.
P.S. If you or someone you know are in the Arts & Entertainment Industry and would like the SPOTLIGHT shined on “You” so that we can have some more fun, joy, beauty and happiness, all in the name of love, just send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from ya.