There is no real answer in this world about why tragedies befall some people and others seem to go unscathed through life.
The only thing one can do when it happens is to control our response and reaction to it.
That is certainly the situation I have seen in people like Pam Levy after one of her twin boys died in a car accident last December.
Tyler Levy, a junior at Northshore High School a year ago, was the only teen out of four in the car who was unable to escape the vehicle that careened off Hwy. 434 out Old Spanish Trail in Slidell, ending upside down in Salt Bayou.
Pam, still suffering with the incredible grief of that loss, is doing the only thing she can by looking for ways to keep her son’s memory alive, all while doing something to help others prevent a similar tragedy. It always amazes me how people like Pam get the strength.
Tyler’s Drive for Life is a fundraising event set this Saturday, March 11 at John Slidell Park. There will be a 3-mile fun run and 1-mile walk. The actual event is the start of the non-profit organization that will create a teen Driving Safety Awareness program, and later, award student scholarships. For late registration this Saturday you can go to the park for 9 a.m.
For Pam, the idea of creating a non-profit foundation in her son’s name is the last thing she ever thought she would be in the middle of, but she said that doing it is one thing that helps her get through each day, knowing she is doing something in the name of her beloved son.
The organization is in the early stages of getting off the ground and does not have its non-profit status yet, although that work is underway. So any donations to the group can go through Northshore High School in the name of Tyler Levy’s Drive for Life.
I hope many of you will show your support for Pam and her family, who are trying to find a way to get through this incredibly difficult time in their lives. If you send a check to Northshore High School there are staff members there who are directing the money to the foundation with the guidance of Principal Frankie Jabbia and Counselor Kelly Miller in charge.
You can mail a check to the school at Northshore High School, 100 Panther Dr., Slidell, La., 70461—Attn: Kelly Miller.
It is one way to let the family know they are not alone and the community is standing with them in the name of Tyler. And it will also help ensure the teen driving safety program goes forward with the hopes of saving the lives of other young people so this kind of accident doesn’t happen again.
Let’s face it, we live in a pretty special place here in St. Tammany Parish.
One interview I did several months ago brought about a comment from a local public official that I hadn’t thought much about before. She reminded me that for those who have lived in St. Tammany Parish a long time it is easy to forget how absolutely great we have it here.
And think about it—we really do have it pretty nice.
We get to enjoy the suburban lifestyle while still being close to the big city action of New Orleans or the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We have great law enforcement and super low crime, some of the best public and private schools in the state, and perhaps more than anything, St. Tammany Parish has slowly cultivated a population of people who—mostly—are willing to go the extra mile to create this fantastic lifestyle we enjoy.
That has been clear for the past 20 years when the public has steadily approved millages related to law enforcement, street lighting, improved roads and infrastructure, schools, community centers and more. Not only do residents here support what we have, but they have been willing to reach into their wallets and pocketbooks to pay for it. You also see that with the many fundraising events that continually have great support.
Especially in this day and age of tighter governmental budgets we know that not much comes for free, but if you want the extra things you have to pay for them. The Children’s Museum of St. Tammany, part of the bigger Performing Arts District that is now on the drawing board, is certainly one of those “special” things.
This Sunday, March 12 at the Castine Center in Mandeville will be the annual installment of “Celebration,” the name created for the big event the Children’s Museum hosts each year to keep the public aware of the progress being made—and the time to continue raising funds for this incredible center that will one day be located in the Performing Arts District, just off I-12 on the banks of the Tchefuncta River in Covington.
I have gotten to know Children’s Museum President Lisa Barnett as we do at least one in-depth interview a year to update the progress for the museum, and of course, the plans, design and fundraising efforts. Currently the projection is for the Children’s Museum to cost somewhere in the $10 million range so, needless to say, it is one of those things St. Tammany residents will be asked to support.
If you wonder how much backing there actually is in the corporate, business and individual world of St. Tammany Parish you only need to attend the Celebration event one year. It is always a packed Castine Center crowd, clearly showing how many people in this parish want those “special” things.
I, for one, am looking forward to the day the Children’s Museum opens in the parish. It will be a wonderful place for our kids and grandkids and something that will add to the quality of life that has given us our “special” parish.
For more information on the Children’s Museum, and ways to show your support, go online to cmstkids.org.
Kevin Chiri can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.