'Boot or Salute'
A message for all graduates
Salute: Those responsible for organizing "Operation Graduation" in Osakis deserve a salute for delivering such an emotionally powerful message to Osakis juniors and seniors about the consequences of drinking and driving, and not wearing seat belts. Local firefighters, police officers and first responders worked with the Douglas County Safe Communities Coalition and several sponsors to bring a smashed-up truck to the school parking lot — a truck that 19-year-old Landon Lien of Carlos was ejected from during a fatal crash on I-94 near Osakis four years ago. The 18-year-old driver had been drinking at a graduation party in Sauk Centre and had a blood-alcohol level of 0.14 three and a half hours after the crash. The students also heard from Landon's sister, Liana, who courageously shared the immense grief her family went through in dealing with the loss of Landon. She humanized the story in a way that drunk driving statistics and warnings can't do. It was a vividly real, heartbreaking and honest speech that should sear the minds of all the Osakis young people who heard it — and just maybe make them think twice about celebrating their graduation with a deadly mix of alcohol and driving.
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