Bob Anastas is on a mission to reach every high school and college student in the country, with a motivational message against drunk driving.
His crusade began some 20 years ago while he was as a high school football and hockey coach. Anastas lost two of his players in separate drunk driving accidents. The deaths happened just four days apart.
One involved a 17-year-old star athlete and student who got behind the wheel after a night of partying. Bob Anastas says as the teen rushed home, his car hit a tree head on. The explosion in the car was so great, it blew him out the passenger door. He broke his neck and he died instantly.
Anastas doesn't bore students with the physical and psychological effects of drugs and alcohol. Instead, he speaks from experience and from the heart. He says he knows the real reason why young people drink and do drugs. It has a lot do to with the pressures of family life and growing up.
Biloxi High Senior Matthew Blaine says just hearing Anastas using examples of students his age really hits home. Those victims didn't get a second chance, and it's going to make a lot of students think twice about drinking and driving.
Lee Seymour agrees. He says as a football player, he's had some fun times. But, after hearing stories like that, he just couldn't imagine putting his family through it.
Anastas urged students to communicate with their parents and use positive peer pressure to help each other win in life. He says there are four keys to success:
- Run when others walk.
- Sleep when others party.
- Take your weakness and make it your strength.
- Keep your body under control at all times.
Then, Anastas asked everyone to stand up and make a commitment to empower themselves and never again allow a yearbook to have a memory page of a person who died of alcohol-related accidents.
Anastas also spoke to the parents of Biloxi High students on Thursday night. On Friday, he will deliver the same inspiring message to students at Mercy Cross High School.