Jan
12
2004

Fairfax, VA —  Thanks to a joint effort between Congressman Tom Davis (R-11) and The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, a national not-for-profit organization funded by America’s leading distillers and dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, students got a life-saving lesson about the dangers of underage drinking and driving today during a presentation at Fairfax High School where Congressman Davis appeared with Brandon Silveria, a young man who was involved in an alcohol-related crash at age 17 just before his high school prom.

"The story of this young man emphasizes our responsibility to educate children about the dangers of underage drinking and driving. Brandon Silveria’s powerful message of turning his tragedy into a triumph has touched millions of high school students across the nation," said Davis. "In 2002, 69 youths under the age of 21 died in alcohol-related traffic fatalities in Virginia. Until that number reaches zero, we must continue to battle against drunk driving and underage drinking. I’m pleased to lend support to The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility’s efforts, and I’m grateful Brandon, and Tony could come to Virginia."

During the program, Silveria told students his wrenching story of how as a high school student he had everything a teenager could want—a job, girlfriend and plans for the future—until he had a few drinks at a party and chose to drive home. After falling asleep at the wheel, crossing the centerline and crashing into a tree, Brandon was left in a coma for three months and spent several years in rehabilitation. Silveria was so badly injured that basic motor functions such as walking, talking and swallowing had to be re-learned. He has permanent brain injury and suffers from dangerous seizures. Brandon’s presentations continue to receive standing ovations from students across the country.

"What you become depends on the choices that you make," said Brandon Silveria. "When I was 17, I had a car, a job, and a girlfriend. Because of my crash, I lost all of them. My hope is that by sharing my experiences with other young people, I can prevent others from being hurt or killed."

Through educational efforts such as the Silveria lecture and video program, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility educates students across the country about the hazards of underage drinking and driving. Since Brandon and his father Tony have become spokespersons for The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, they have addressed well over one million high school students nationwide and have been featured on such television programs as "Rescue 911," NBC’s "Today," and "Leeza."

"We are pleased to have Congressman Davis’ participation in The Council’s efforts to combat underage drinking," said Ralph Blackman, President and CEO of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility. "With his continued support, we hope to raise awareness about this serious problem, and by doing so, save lives in Virginia."

To request a free copy of "Brandon Tells His Story" or for more information on the Silveria program call (800) 431-4499. The 30-minute video, which won an award from the American Medical Association, is accompanied by supporting curriculum materials and can be used with large or small groups of teens.

Launched in 1991, The Century Council is funded by America's leading distillers. The Foundation's mission is to promote responsible decision-making regarding beverage alcohol and discourage all forms of irresponsible consumption through education, communications, research, law enforcement and other programs. For more information on the Foundation, log onto www.responsibility.org.
Contact: 
CONTACT: Leslie Kimball
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
202-425-5423
via email