The annual Vigil of Remembrance honoring those who lost their lives in drunk driving crashes was held on Sunday, December 5, 2010, at St. Stephen's Church in Pittsfield. The event was sponsored by the office of Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless, in cooperation with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). About 75 people attended, including family members and loved ones of the victims, high school students and law enforcement.

This year's Vigil of Remembrance was the seventh to be led by District Attorney Capeless, who carries on the tradition of honoring lives lost at the hands of drunk drivers. The late District Attorney Gerard D. Downing began the tradition in 1998.

By presidential proclamation, December has been declared National Drunk & Drugged Driving Prevention month. Nationally, we recognize the numbing statistics, while locally we recognize our lost loved ones-as families and as a community. The vigil is held at the holiday season because this remembrance-reading the names and lighting the candle-is the one gift that can now be given to one who has gone.

As the names of 44 people who lost their lives were read, family members lit candles in their honor.

District Attorney Capeless said, "It is unsettling to me that, each year, the list grows. There are new names to be called and new faces to come forward in remembrance. But I am also heartened that they join so many who have come year after year, and I can only hope that those who came for the first time will be moved to return again next year."

Mary Ferrell, mother of Lindsey, who was killed by a drunk driver read a very special verse written in honor of her daughter. "Say Lindsey" is a reminder of the loss a family faces in these tragic car crashes.

Community involvement is very important, especially when that involvement comes from our area youth. Students from St. Joseph High School offered readings and vocalists Marissa and Natalie Massery performed beautiful selections during the vigil. Troopers Jean Thibodeau and Brian Berkel of the Massachusetts State Police once again stood guard during the ceremony, lighting candles when a family member could not. Trooper Thibodeau also lights a candle in honor of her brother, Richard Soucy, a victim of a drunk driving crash, each year.

Whether it is the annual momento that each family takes home, the refreshments and conversation that follow, or simply the moment when their loved one's face is shown or their name announced, the families of victims honored come back year after year.