My 18-year-old son, Kevin, died of alcohol poisoning on the day he moved out on his own.
In an effort to raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol abuse, I walked with his ashes in my backpack, from Arizona to Montana, sharing our story with thousands along the way.
I have also written a book titled, “Kevin’s Last Walk, A Father’s Final Journey With His Son.”
I would love the opportunity to share my story with your group.
My presentation is really quite simple. I tell the audience what kind of kid my son, Kevin, was. I go into detail about what happened the night he died and the “knock on the door” the next morning. I talk about how the idea to walk to Montana came about and some of my experiences along the way.
I don’t have a slick power point presentation, with slides and lights, I simply tell them a real, life story. A story of tragedy, hope, healing and humor.
Frequently Asked Questions about my presentation
1. What are some of the takeaways from your presentation?
Alcohol, (and drugs), destroys lives everyday. The most important decisions you will ever make are about drugs and alcohol. Despite what advertisements and the media imply, nothing good comes from the abuse of alcohol. Depending on audience size, I ask the students what good things can come from drinking, then ask what are some of the bad things that can happen. I drive home the point that it only takes once for something tragic to happen, and the drinking age is 21 for a reason.
Loss of a child. Students will understand how the death of a child can have lasting and tragic consequences. Parents will learn that the most you can hope for when you lose a child is to make something very good come from it. Focus that “grief energy” on making something very good happen.
Inspiration: Our lives are defined by how we respond to adversity. We all face adversity at some point in our lives. How we respond to it will define our lives. If a guy like me can pull off a 1,400 mile journey, with his son’s ashes in his backpack, imagine what you can do.
Forgiveness: The hardest person to forgive, when something happens to your child, is yourself. “There has to be something I could have done differently.” I recently watched an interview with a soldier, from the war in Iraq. He spoke of how he couldn’t forgive himself for what happened to his buddies, (once again, there has to be something he could have done differently). It took me 1,400 miles to find a way to forgive myself, but I have. Forgiveness is critical in the healing process. Specifically, forgiving yourself.
With all these serious subjects, I show that parents who have lost a child can still have a sense of humor.
2. Can you tailor your presentation for specific audiences?
Absolutely, for instance, when speaking to church congregations and youth groups I talk about coming to grips with the fact that God alone is in charge. When you do, it sets you free. Often, Christians will smile and nod when I say this, but when you come to know God in your heart, it sets you free. Again, it took me 1,400 miles to really understand this. I can refer to scriptures or use scriptures provided by the pastor.
3. How long is your presentation?
Typically 35-45 minutes, but I can adjust to the needs of the audience.
4. What audio/video/setup requirements do you require?
A computer and projector that has the ability to display a .jpg file, play an audio file (.mp3) and play a DVD. It’s also helpful to have a hands-free wireless microphone and a podium to put my notes on. None of the above are hard and fast requirements.
5. What size audiences do you prefer?
I prefer the larger audiences as this allows me to get the message out to as many individuals as possible. I am often warned by principals that large groups of students can be noisy. These same principals often tell me afterward that their students were the quietest they have ever been. It is an emotional story that connects with all ages.
6. How much does it cost to have you come speak?
That depends on what you’re looking for, and where your school is located! We will work with you and your budget. Give us a call or shoot us an email, and we will figure out the details with you!
7. We have a limited budget, what are some ways we can pay for you?
We have a few different options that will work with various budgets and funding restraints.
8. How do we contact you?
Use the Contact form on this site.
9. Can you provide references?
References available upon request.
10. Do you have any feedback letters that you can share with us?
I thought you would never ask. Please see my feedback page