A Texas firefighter hopes sharing what he knows will keep teens away from the dangers of alcohol. Travis Reed travels the country speaking for Mother's Against Drunk Driving. On Wednesday, he told a group of Gulfport Middle School students that a few bad decisions could cut their young lives short.
Reed could try to forget the drunk driving accident where he found a friend bleeding on the side of the road. Instead the firefighter/medic relives that horrible night over and over again in speeches he makes to students.
"I don't want to sit here and just ramble off statistics because that gets boring," said Reed. "I want to give them personal true stories. Because of my history as a firefighter from Texas I have a lot of personal experience seeing these things happen and for real."
Eighth grader Ricky Floyd says the stories had a profound effect on him. "I actually felt I was there. The firefighter's emotions just took me."
Among the stories Bayou View Middle School students heard was one about a boy their age named Jimmy. Reed told them how the drunken 13-year-old stumbled into traffic.
"If you're attitude is it's my life I'll do what I want with it then you come out to my fire station for one day," Reed told the. "You go out there and you pick a 13-year-old boy off the ground and you put him in a body bag. You come out there on prom night and you pick a 17-year-old girl up with blood all over her prom dress and you put her in a body bag. Then you tell me it's your life. You see I've been there and it hurts."
Presley Wesson believes some of her classmates will head the message but not all. "There's some people like he said that have an attitude that 'This is my life. I can do whatever I want with it.' If it changes one person then it's good for the whole school."
Reed says for him saving just one life is not good enough.
"I don't want to scare them but no I'm not going to sugar coat. I'm going to give them the reality," he said.
Fort Worth firefighter Travis Reed will continue to visit south Mississippi schools through next week.