Don't drink and drive this holiday season

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Dec. 13, 2005, The Senior Airman Kristopher Mansfield tree stands in front of the Base Fitness Center and serves as a reminder for each member of Buckley Air Force Base to be responsible and to encourage others to keep the roads free of drunk drivers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Steven Czyz)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Dec. 13, 2005, The Senior Airman Kristopher Mansfield tree stands in front of the Base Fitness Center and serves as a reminder for each member of Buckley Air Force Base to be responsible and to encourage others to keep the roads free of drunk drivers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Steven Czyz)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The death of Senior Airman Kristopher Mansfield has been a constant reminder to many people in the Buckley community of what could happen when someone gets behind the wheel after drinking.

Airman Mansfield was killed by a drunk driver more than two years ago. His death has been a rallying cry for the members of Team Buckley to ensure people do not drive drunk.

The tree, located in front of the Fitness Center, was planted and dedicated on Arbor Day 2005 in memory of Airman Mansfield, continues to serve as a reminder of the damage drinking and driving inflicts on a community. It also serves as a reminder for each of us to be responsible and to encourage others to keep our roads free of drunk drivers.

Truly, Airman Mansfield's death affected many families -- his parents', his extended family of friends and loved ones and his Air Force family. They all suffered a tremendous loss.

Col. Danny Seanger, 460th Space Wing vice commander, who officiated the tree lighting ceremony in front of the Base Fitness Center Nov. 28 to remember Airman Mansfield, urged us to grow as Team Buckley and make the tree lighting ceremony a Buckley tradition. He also reconfirmed to Airman Mansfield's parents the 460th Space Wing's commitment to echo their cause against drinking and driving.

Airman Mansfield's parents, Mr. Craig Mansfield and Mrs. Julie Legg, along with all who knew and loved him, continue to battle against drinking and driving to save lives. Their message is clear -- don't drink and drive.

Airman Mansfield's death at the hands of a drunk driver has forever changed the lives of all his loved ones. We can only imagine the pain of his closest loved ones. What we can be sure of is their determination to spare others the pain they've suffered.

Whether one life, a thousand lives or a million lives, we collectively must not rest until we keep drunk drivers off our roads. Airman Mansfield and all the other lives that were cut short by a drunk driver deserve nothing less. Let us not relent -- may we continue echoing, "don't drink and drive."