July 23, 2016

Partly sunny

Michelle’s Leading Star Foundation receives donation

MONTVILLE TWP. — “The community came together to participate,” said Montville Police Patrol Officer Chris LaFond, referring to the Montville Police Patrolman’s Association 5K Run and Walk that raised $11,659.19 to benefit Michelle’s Leading Star Foundation. “It hit so close to home.”
Montville police Sgt. Terry Grice, along with Officer LaFond, were on the scene of the car accident that took the life of 15-year old Montville Township resident Michelle Sanderbeck on March 4, 2006. Both agreed that donating the 5K event’s proceeds to the Sanderbeck family, who recently completed the requirements needed to make their foundation official, will have a direct impact on teen driver safety in the Montville area.
“Ray and Debbie Sanderbeck really showed an interest in using the funds to promote teen safety,” noted Grice, saying that the fall 5K Run and Walk was supported by 450 participants and numerous local sponsors.
“Michelle will always be a driving force — we’re walking in her shoes,” said Ray Sanderbeck, father of the late Medina High School student, who was an instrumental force behind passage of House Bill 343 which added safety restrictions to Ohio’s graduated driver licensing laws for teens.
Sanderbeck explained that Michelle’s Leading Star Foundation will promote the education and awareness of safe driving by teen drivers and their parents as well as serve to help strengthen driving laws.
A granite bench etched with “Michelle’s Law,” a series of promises to obey safe driving practices, will soon be placed in the atrium near the Medina Performing Arts Center where Sanderbeck hopes it will reinforce awareness in both the adult and teen drivers who pass it.
Another tribute to Michelle will be located inside Medina High School with a special safe driving message.
“We are also setting aside funds for yearly scholarships to driving school,” Sanderbeck said.
“There remains more work that needs to be done to strengthen other laws and make roads safer in our county and in Ohio,” added Sanderbeck, who is continuing to lobby government officials. “My ultimate goal is to bring simulation driving to Medina County to add another layer to driver education classes to better prepare kids before they venture out onto the roads.”
“I’ll always remember Terry’s hand on my shoulder that night when my daughter was killed,” said Sanderbeck. “I thank Terry and Chris and all of the staff of the Montville Police that have done so much.”
Carlisle may be reached at accent@ohio.net..