Lambert Ghost Out Held Jan. 25
February 1, 2023 | View PDF
On Wednesday, Jan. 25, Lambert middle and high school students participated in a ghost out. A ghost out is an alcohol and drug awareness program aimed at teenagers because traffic crashes are the number one killer of teens and over 1/3 of teen traffic deaths are alcohol related nationwide. The Richland County Health Department drug-free communities program Director, Jaylea Olson and tobacco education specialist Jacklyn Damm presented this program to the students. The "Grim Reaper" removed a student from a classroom and brought the student to the ghost out team where they were provided a ghost out T-shirt and black sunglasses, which they wore the rest of the day. They then assisted in writing their own obituary. While this was taking place, the Grim Reaper placed a white wooden cross in the gym with their name on it. The student then returned to class and officer Colton Blue read their obituary to the group. The student was considered dead, and was not able to talk to anyone for the rest of the day. Fifteen students were pulled out of class to participate in the ghost out. This number represented about half of the 32 people who die due to a DUI related crash in the United States. At the end of the day, all students met in the gym. The ghost out students were carrying a lit candle. They stood in line while a poem was read about the death of a young girl who died due to a DUI crash. Then the Honorable Ray Trumpower, Fairview, read each students' mock obituary. After the obituary was read, the Grim Reaper came and blew out each student's candle to represent their death.
An emergency preparedness panel addressed the students next. Jeff Kent, Montana Highway Patrol officer told the students that he has participated as an officer in about 40 fatal crashes over the years and explained the details of his job on a crash scene. Yvette Lien, Sidney Health Center ER nurse and Lambert ambulance crew member said, "I don't want you to ever see the demons that I see in my head because people made bad choices. One bad decision is all it takes. Please, if you ever feel unsafe, call a friend, call your family, even call me!" Officer Blue Richland County Sheriff's Department, said, "You might be nervous about calling your parents for a ride, but I firmly believe they would rather get a call from you to ask them to pick you up rather than get a call from me after you decide to drive and have had an accident." Olson ended the assembly by addressing the students, "If you take anything away from today, let it be this: Everything in your life is a result of your decisions. Learn to recognize your patterns in your choices and how they affect you. Only when you take full responsibility for all of your choices, can you take charge of your life."
The poem read at the beginning of the assembly was as follows: I went to a party and remembered what you said, you told me not to drink mom, so I had Sprite instead. I felt proud of myself the way you said I would, I didn't drink and drive-though some of my friends said I should, I made a healthy choice and your advice to me was right, the party finally ended and the kids drove out of sight. I got into my car sure to get home in one piece. I never knew what was coming, Mom, something I expected least. Now I'm lying on the pavement, and I hear the policeman say, the kid that caused this wreck was drunk, Mom, his voice seems so far away. My own blood is all around me, as I try not to cry. I can hear the paramedics say, this girl is going to die. I'm sure the guy had no idea, while he was flying high. Because he chose to drink and drive, now I would have to die. So why do people do it, Mom, knowing that it ruins lives? And now the pain is cutting me, like 100 stabbing knives. Someone should've taught him that it's wrong to drink and drive. Maybe if his parents had, I'd still be alive. My breath is getting shorter, Mom, I'm really getting scared. These are my final moments and I am so unprepared. I wish that you could hold me, Mom, while I lie here and die. To say these final words, Mom, I love you and goodbye. "Even if today's assembly only saves one life, today was worth it," said Judge Ray Trumpower."