Every 51 minutes, an American is killed by a drunk driver. In 2017, four of those people were Loudoun County residents.
In 1989, Susan Cleveland’s family could have been part of that statistic, but they got lucky. Cleveland and her son were driving a block away from their home when they were hit by a drunk driver. All that was hurt was the car.
“He was charged with third time first offense drunk driving and that’s when I became mad and said this has got to stop,” said Cleveland. She also says the driver was let off of a DUI charge for being under 21-years-old at the time of the incident.
30 years later, Cleveland is leading the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Loudoun. Three years ago, it partnered with GotSneakers, a sneaker recycling organization that compensates MADD for every pair of usable sneakers collected.
For the second year, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office participated in MADD’s fundraiser. It collected 1,027 pairs of shoes at its office in Leesburg. Cleveland says 311 pairs were wearable, 159 will be recycled, and 557 were nonsneakers.
“The other ones that are not usable are ground up and used for football fields and tracks and so forth that use rubber, so it’s actually a very good project,” said Sheriff Mike Chapman. “It gives us the ability to work with [MADD] and keep them on board with us in going after drunk drivers.”
While the LCSO only collects shoes during the month of March, other locations around the county collect from January to May. The fundraiser ends with the Walk Like MADD fundraising event on May 11 at Sterling Middle School.
“We want to be out of business. I want to have no more victims,” said Cleveland.