Thank you, Marty, for that kind introduction and for giving me the opportunity to be here to help SAFE KIDS, and General Motors celebrate this momentous occasion.
What is more precious to us than our children? And, what is a more important measure of the values of our society than how we take care of our children?
No individual tragedy is more devastating to a parent than the loss of a child. I have seen this first hand as Acting Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. I have met, sat with, and listened to parents whose grief was overwhelming.
That is why I am so pleased to be here tonight, to honor you, and to honor your efforts to keep children safe on our nation’s highways.
In 1999, the Safety Board called on the States to establishment permanent locations where parents and caregivers could receive hands-on assistance by qualified or certified personnel in the proper installation of their child restraint systems. The Board also asked child restraint and automobile manufacturers to support the establishment and existence of such locations.
SAFE KIDS Worldwide and General Motors have been leaders in this effort. Your more than 75 permanent fitting stations have allowed certified technicians to reach rural populations that might otherwise have been without this important service. To date, more than 760,000 children have benefited from your efforts to be sure their child safety seats were properly installed and that they were in the right seat for their age, size, and weight. This evening we celebrate your success and thank SAFE KIDS Worldwide and General Motors for the work you have done. The Safety Board is proud to be a part of your efforts and we’re especially proud of our continued relationship to improve safety and save lives.
We’ve all heard the stories from parents who have visited SAFE KIDS’ fitting stations. Some of these parents were in car crashes after having their child seats checked. And it is wonderful to hear them say how the fitting stations and child seats saved their children's lives. But without the dedication, leadership, and financial support from General Motors, many fitting stations wouldn’t exist. For 10 years, GM has been a model of corporate leadership by supporting SAFE KIDS. It is great to see such a successful, long-term partnership dedicated to saving children's lives.
In recognition of this partnership, I would like to present Safety Leadership Awards to SAFE KIDS Worldwide and to General Motors Corporation.
Dr. Eichelberger, this Award is given to SAFE KIDS, “For 10 years of Outstanding Leadership in Promoting Child Passenger Safety through the Safe Kids Buckle Up Program.” (Pause for pictures).
Mr. Gillum, this Award is given to General Motors, “For 10 years of Outstanding Support for and Commitment to the Safe Kids Buckle Up Program.” (Pause for pictures).
Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s celebrate their success with a round of applause for Safe Kids Worldwide and for General Motors. (pause)
And now let us rededicate ourselves to the task of saving the lives of our most precious resource -- our children.