After completing the nine month program and presenting their community project the Leadership Cheatham County class of 2013 graduated the program Tuesday night in a ceremony held at Community Bank and Trust in Ashland City. The project the class unveiled is a distracted driving awareness and prevention program aimed at new drivers.
The evening began with the class presenting their distracted driving awareness and prevention program to the Leadership Cheatham County board and assembled guests. With a portion of the class working in the emergency services field, distracted driving is a problem near to the class after seeing the effects first hand. Their project has the goal of lowering the number of accidents throughout Cheatham County and educating young drivers by going directly to high school students in Cheatham County with a week of education and demonstrations of the consequences distracted driving can involve.
The education portion of the program will consist of a speaker series where students will hear from those who have been affected by a distracted driving accident, in addition to having a vehicle placed in front of the school that has been through an accident as a reminder of those consequences. The program would also address the dangers of drinking in driving, in addition to the other commonly known distractions like texting, eating or changing the radio station.
The program week would also include a “ghost out” which is a full scale demonstration of an accident scene, beginning from the initial 911 call, through the arrival of police, fire and EMS on the scene then all the way through a life flight helicopter landing and the clearing of the scene. A similar “ghost out” has previously taken place at Sycamore High School prior to prom weekend in 2010. The program week would conclude with a demonstration from the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s rollover simulator that demonstrates the importance of safety belts, wearing them and doing so correctly.
The success of the fire prevention program that is currently in the school system at the elementary level also helped inspire the setup for the distracted driving model. LCC class member and Pleasant View Fire Department Assistant Chief Derek Noe shared stories of children and other county residents who had experienced a house fire. They remembered what they learned during fire prevention week demonstrations and credited knowledge that for why they were able to remain calm and escape the fire unharmed. The hope is that if avoiding distracted driving can be taught as teens are just learning to drive, it too can help save live.
The project will next be submitted to the appropriate school board committees to evaluate the best way to implement it into the county schools and at Pleasant View Christian School.
Before receiving their graduation certificates, the LCC class heard from keynote speaker Lisa Moffitt of Esquire Wire. She spoke to the class about the two things she loves most about Cheatham County, its uniqueness and its people. She addressed how great people need great leaders and that LCC had produced some of the county’s top leaders over the years.
She continued by highlighting some of the alumni of LCC who have gone on to hold elected office on the state and local level in addition to some of the previous projects by LCC classes that have impacted the county in a positive way like the creation of an animal control facility, the Cheatham Vision plan and satellite voting locations. Moffitt concluded by saying to the class, “we have dreamers and we have doers, we just need to have more dreamers who are doers and your distracted driving project shows you all are just that.”
LCC will now begin the search for the 2014 class. For those interested in applying for the program, more information and how to apply can be found at www.leadershipcheatham.org.
Concluding its 17th year, LCC’s purpose continues to be focused on the enhancement of individual leadership skills, abilities and community knowledge while fostering a free exchange of ideas and concerns. In addition LCC aims to help develop a positive, cohesive community image and foster attitudes of increased commitment, cooperation and participation within our community for the long-term benefit of Cheatham County.
The LCC program consists of nine monthly seminars, group discussions, field trips and retreats that address various issues of importance in Cheatham County. Participants will view and gain a hands-on knowledge of the county’s history, agriculture and tourism offerings, in addition to seeing how the education system, businesses and industry, safety services and government operations all work together within Cheatham County and its four cities.
Each participant will also be involved in the development of a group project that will benefit the county as a whole. Previous classes have completed such projects as the development of the county-wide fire plan, the county animal control facility, satellite early voting locations and the Cheatham Vision Plan among many others.