The Tulsa Health Department Regional Prevention Coordinator Program (RPC) and the Stop DUI Task Force are teaming up to raise awareness about the devastating effects of drunk driving in Tulsa County through the annual Tree of Life holiday display at Woodland Hills Mall. This year, community members are encouraged to submit a photo of their loved ones lost due to a drunk driving incident to be included on the ornaments for the Tree of Life, which will be displayed inside the mall beginning in December.
According to Kandice Lawson, Prevention Specialist at the Tulsa Health Department, “It’s important to remember that these victims are people, not just numbers. Giving a face to the lives lost due to drunk driving can help us truly understand the impact that alcohol abuse can have in our community.”
Since 2014, the Tree of Life has been a poignant reminder of the number of Tulsa County families who are missing a loved one during the winter holiday season due to a drunk driving accident. The tree features wrapped gifts as a symbolic reminder of the gifts that won’t be opened this year due to a family member who is no longer here. The number of gifts corresponds to the number of lives lost in Tulsa County due to drunk driving.
Visitors to Woodland Hills Mall can sign a pledge card near the Tree of Life to make a personal commitment to abstain from drinking and driving. Those who consume alcohol should do so responsibly and make plans for a sober driver or use a ride-sharing service. Photos can be submitted digitally through the Tulsa Health Department website or physically dropped off at three locations of the Tulsa Health Department during business hours between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. Digital copies are encouraged but all pictures are welcome. Submissions can be made until December 8th, 2023 if submitting digitally please include name box with name of person in photo and physical copies can be dropped off at James O. Goodwin Health Center, Central Regional Health Center or North Regional Health and Wellness Center.