Kern County came together Saturday for the annual Walk Like MADD event, which was held virtually this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The statewide walk/run was well represented from a local perspective, with California Highway Patrol Officer Robert Rodriguez singing the national anthem and more than $42,000 generated by Kern to help fund local educational programs and prevention services designed to raise awareness surrounding drunken driving. The money will also provide support to local victims and survivors of drunken driving incidents.
Statewide, more than $1.6 million was raised, according to a news release from the law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles, which helped organize the event.
According to the release, MADD Kern County has been significantly impacted by the pandemic, losing more than 80 percent of its annual revenue and facing drastic financial cuts that have disrupted grassroots programs and services.
With that said, the news release stated that since 2009, Kern County has seen at least 4,000 DUI arrests made each year and nearly 12 DUI arrests per day.
In what has become one of the largest fundraising walks and runs in town, Saturday’s virtual event brought together numerous individuals impacted by drunken driving — surviving victims, families and friends; law enforcement; prosecutors; first responders; advocates and community leaders; and members.
Here were some awards given to race finishers and top fundraisers:
Fastest male: Garret Sugimoto, Kern Regional Crime Lab
Fastest female: Jessica Harrington, 23ABC News
Top team: Madysyn & Kaleb’s Keepers
Top fundraiser: Amber Morales
Top law enforcement team: Kern County District Attorney’s Office