EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSWEAR A SEAT BELT
from Eyewitness News Online
Family Of GW Student Killed In 2009 Hit Hard By News Of Fatal Accident
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Videographer: John Tincher/Troy Morgan
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Reported: Sep. 17, 2012 11:19 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
News of Sunday's fatal accident that killed a George Washington High School freshman hits especially hard for the family of another GW student killed in a car crash in 2009.
Since then, they've launched a massive campaign to promote to wearing a seat belt.
"If Willy would have wanted anything I think to have come from this, it would have been to educate," explains Willy Shuman's older brother, Grant Shuman.
Grant Shuman says if he's learned one thing since 2009, it's that time doesn't take away the pain. Willy was killed in a car accident just days before he was set to leave for the U.S. Air Force Academy. He wasn't wearing a seat belt.
"My mom always said it best, which is when Willy would go out she would tell whoever was driving to 'take care of her precious cargo,' and that's really what it is," he recalls.
Out of the tragedy came The Willy Foundation. His family works to honor him by partnering with schools and advocating the use of seat belts. The W.A.S. Campaign, bearing Willy's initials, stands for "Wear A Seat belt" and challenges students to take the simple, life-saving step.
GW freshman Drew Morton wasn't wearing his seat belt in a Sunday morning accident that claimed his life. The GW community is now grief stricken once again.
"In the back of their minds they are thinking that very thing, that this is eerily familiar," explains counselor Billie Walker.
Walker says classmates have described Morton as the class clown who could make anyone crack a smile.
"This has brought it home for a lot of them, this has brought it right to their doorstep. And they said, "we've got to come away from this and learn that lesson. We've got to take this experience and really learn from it this time,'" she explains.
Shuman says there's nothing good that can be taken out of the tragedies unless others learn from it.
"If I had a piece of advice for the GW community or the community at large is 'don't let this go in vain. Don't let this be something that you take nothing from,'" he says.
To learn more about the Willy Foundation, log on to www.thewillyfoundation.org
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