A Young Life Lost: Legacy Of Safety
Iowa town bands together with assist from State Farm
The rolling hills of the Missouri River Valley with green grass and corn as far as the eye can see. It’s an idyllic, small Midwestern, Americana kind of town.
That was the last scene Tristan White saw before his life ended. He was running with his high school wrestling team on a country road when he was struck by a speeding motorist. A horrifying end to a promising young life.
Tristan’s shocking death left his family, friends and community with a deep sense of loss and helplessness. But they found an outlet for their grief. They decided to make Tristan’s legacy one of safety.
The White family connected with the nearby nonprofit, Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 (KKAD25). They participated in a 5K to remember lost loved ones, like Tristan.
“I want people to remember why he’s not here,” shared Lisa White, Tristan’s mother. “Even if it makes a difference for one or two families to not have to go through what we’ve gone through. It doesn’t make it worth it but at least it made a difference.”
Then they decided to bring these messages and activities to their hometown, Treynor, IA. But they needed help. In 2016, they heard about a crowdsourced, grant program that connects individuals and communities with local non-profits to build safer, stronger, and smarter communities, State Farm Neighborhood Assist (SFNA).
And they won one of those 40 grants. The grant dollars will help kick off the initiative, License to Live, in partnership with KKAD25. License to Live encourages the entire community to practice safe driving; keeping pedestrians, drivers and passengers alike safe on our roadways.
Their plan is to add three radar speed signs to remind people to slow down as they enter the town, and place banners around the community to raise awareness. They hosted mock crash simulations at Tristan’s former high school to inform students about risky situations.
They also hope to create a two-mile trail along the road where Tristan died. It will not only serve as a memorial but will provide a safe trail for residents to enjoy.
“We can’t bring him back but we can make his life remembered,” shared Tristan’s aunt, Christy Nielsen. “The more we can tell people, a little bit of action can go a long way.”
Together, Tristan’s family and Treynor residents turned the power of caring into the act of doing with the help of SFNA. Is there a cause in your community you care about?