Ninth annual Memory Walk set for Oct. 10

Published 3:00 am Friday, October 2, 2015

Irene Tellis Mahone has experienced what all parents fear the most – having the telephone ring in the middle of the night or a police officer’s knock at the door.

But no matter when or how the message is delivered, it knocks you to your knees, said Mahone whose son, Kelly Tellis, was killed in an automobile accident in 2005.

“I don’t want any parent to have to experience what I’ve been through,” she said. “That’s why I’m involved with the ‘9th Annual It Won’t Happen to Me Memory Walk’ that will be on Saturday, Oct. 10, at Tribble Mill Park in Lawrenceville, Georgia.”

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Mahone said she was inspired by “It Won’t Happen to Me” founder Bill Richardson, a retired Gwinnett County, Georgia police officer.

Several years prior to retirement Richardson began a program within the department called “It Won’t Happen To Me.”  The program was designed to use the stories of teens that lost their lives in teen driving related car crashes to educate teens of the consequences of making the wrong decisions while driving.

“I heard Bill Richardson speak at a teen driving awareness program at Cattleman Park and I knew I had to do my part to make teenagers aware that a car crash can be one glance away,” Mahone said. “In the time it takes to text or put a CD in the player, you can die in a car crash or cause others to die.”

Four Pike County teens that died in car accidents were included in last year’s “It Won’t Happen to Me” Memory Book. The stories of Lauren Austin, Blake Carnley, Heather Johnson and Kelly Tellis were told in hopes that their stories would save lives, Mahone said.

“It Won’t Happen to Me’ is dedicated to reducing teen traffic violations and teen deaths due to car crashes. The annual Memory Walk is held in remembrance of teens who died in car crashes and to raise awareness that car crashes are the number one cause to teen deaths.

“The Memory Walk is a way to remember my son and all the sons and daughters that have died in a way that could have been prevented,” Mahone said.

There is a $25 on-line registration fee for the Memory Walk at Donations are always appreciated.

“We have sponsors from the Troy area and I would like to thank them for their support of this walk and this program that are dedicated to preventing car crashes and saving the lives of our teenagers.”

Troy area sponsors include Beckett Insurance Agency State Farm, Brenda and Marshall Debose, Corrie Byrd, Greater Saint Paul AME Church, Headquarters Styling Salon, J Michelle’s Special Events, N&N Enterprises, State Farm Mike Shelton, Pasty Gibson Troy Schools, Teresa and George Dato, Tom Anderson Pike County DA, Troy Bank & Trust, Troy Paint & Body, Tri-County Psychiatrics Services and Troy United Women’s League.