Community Honors Edwin Jackson And Others In Candlelight Vigil

Posted Feb 16, 2018

On Thursday night, the Colts community came together with MADD, Uber, and three families to remember victims of drunk driving.

Families brought together by tragedy came together to remember.

“The shortness of their lives and the tragedy of their deaths grieve all of us,” said Colleen Sheehey-Church, National President of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

On Thursday night at Guion Creek Middle School, MADD, Uber, and the Indianapolis Colts hosted a candlelight vigil for linebacker Edwin Jackson, Uber driver Jeffrey Monroe, and all victims of drunk driving.

Jackson and Monroe were struck and killed on Interstate 70 in Indianapolis in the early hours of February 4th – and they weren’t alone.

“In fact,” said Sheehey-Church, “there were several other crashes that day and one close by here that killed another Uber driver as well, Blair Edmonds.”

Families of all three victims gathered in the school gym with members of the Colts organization, law enforcement, and the community.

“These drunk driving crashes are so sudden, they’re always tragic, they’re always violent, and also result in either death or injuries,” Sheehey-Church said. “And we know that they are completely 100 percent preventable.”

More than 10,000 people are killed in drunk driving accidents every year. In Indiana, there were 211 people killed by drunk drivers last year.

“Some of you here tonight have been personally affected by drunk driving and in response, those who’ve committed to be designated drivers, helped people get home safely and avoid getting behind the wheel if they’ve been drinking – you all are everyday heroes,” said Carrol Chang, General Manager of Uber.

Still, impaired driving is the leading cause of death on the roads today, claiming 29 lives a day.

“The only way we make a difference is one person at a time. And we all can make that difference,” said Colts General Manager Chris Ballard. “Life is way too precious for us to not make a difference in other people’s lives.”

Edwin Jackson made a difference every day of his life. And that’s what he’ll be remembered for.

“He had a special place in his heart for children and he could make friends with anyone. It didn’t matter to him where they came from or what they looked like,” said his sister, Cora Asiana. “And he took the work of mastering football seriously as well as his community service work, which was near and dear to his heart. Edwin was just plain old special and we are all blessed to have known him.”

Jackson’s parents and nine siblings drove up from Atlanta to attend the vigil. Asiana called it a fitting tribute to a beloved brother and son.

“He was the light in our lives and provided light and joy to so many others. He was warm as fire and as fiery hot with his passion for football and community work. But at the same time, was gentle and calm,” she said. “Edwin is no longer physically here, but his light still shines on and we will make it our mission to keep his light shining forever.”

Based on what she heard about Jackson, Deborah Monroe said had they known each other, he and her husband would have been friends. Instead, their families are bonded by tragedy.

“They were both good men. They both deserved to die in their beds at a ripe old age,” she said. “Because of one person’s selfish actions, on the early morning of February 4th, two families are forever changed and are going to be forever missing people.”

MADD took tragedy and turned it into advocacy. It’s something they’ve been doing for 38 years. And it’s something they hope they won’t have to continue to do.

“We long to create a day when there will be no more victims,” Sheehey-Church said.

But in order to achieve that, we all have to do our part.

“To touch a heart is to change an action," said Sheehey-Church. "To change an action is to save a life.”

Edwin Jackson, Jeffrey Monroe, and Blair Edmonds touched many a heart.

And their light will burn brightly inside them for years to come.

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