August 23, 2019 8:08 pm
Updated: August 30, 2019 2:36 pm

MADD Canada’s first-ever Alberta roadside memorial pays tribute to Calgary man

WATCH: MADD Canada has unveiled its first memorial road sign in Alberta. As Christa Dao reports, the sign is meant to serve as a reminder against drunk driving, but also to pay tribute to a man deeply missed.


Madd Canada unveiled Alberta’s first roadside memorial on Friday and it honours the memory of 55-year-old Alfred “Fred” Benary.

Benary was killed by a drunk driver in October 2015.

RCMP at the time said his car collided with a pickup truck on Alberta’s Highway 22, just north of Highway 1.

On Friday, MADD Canada, along with Benary’s family, Minister of Transportation Ric McIver, paramedics and other officials revealed the sign, posted just off Highway 22.

Benary’s wife, Adele Dirks, said she hopes drivers get the message that it’s not OK to drink and drive.

READ MORE: How many drinks is too many under new impaired driving rules?

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“[I hope] that people are aware of what’s going on around them… and aware of their own behaviours and choices,” she said.

“It’s been difficult. It never goes away. For the first few months, I thought it was a bad dream and I was going to wake up and he’d be there, but he’s not,” she said.

The sign features Benary’s full name, along with MADD Canada’s iconic red ribbon.

The sign also serves as a permanent reminder to the public about the dangers of impaired driving.

“I hope when people see the sign, if they’re impaired, they get off the road. If they’re not, it will be a reminder and an enforcement to make good decisions,” McIver said.

READ MORE: Mandatory impaired driving laws to hit the roads before holidays

Emergency responders said the devastation caused by impaired driving is something they see often and it affects more than just family and friends.

“As first responders, it happens far too often that we respond to collisions involving impaired drivers, whether that’s drugs or alcohol,” EMS public information officer Shane Paton said.

“It does play a factor in our mental well-being, family’s well-being, everyone. The sad part is it’s truly preventable incidents.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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