This Sunday, December 5, at 3 p.m., the Berkshire District Attorney's Office will host the 34th annual Vigil of Remembrance at First United Methodist Church in Pittsfield to remember the victims of fatal impaired driving collisions.

According to a media statement from the Berkshire District Attorney's Office, the program will feature District Attorney Andrea Harrington reading the names of each of the 53 Berkshire people who died in impaired driving collisions while Massachusetts State Police Troopers light candles for remembrance.

High school students on the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office’s Youth Advisory Board will distribute programs, provide set-up and clean-up support, and read poetry during the ceremony. John Sauer will perform a musical selection.

The annual candle lighting ceremony provides families an opportunity to reflect and honor their loved ones, spread awareness to deter others from driving under the influence, and reconfirm law enforcement’s commitment to enforcing the impaired driving laws aggressively.

The Berkshire District Attorney’s Office, Massachusetts State Police, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving began the vigil in 1988.

Last year, the District Attorney’s Office won a $166,254 grant from the Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance to assign a victim witness advocate to specialize in motor vehicle homicide cases.

The advocate understands explicitly the unique trauma motor vehicle homicide cases pose to families and loved ones, helps them navigate the court process, and connects them with community services.

District Attorney Andrea Harrington had this to say regarding the annual ceremony:

Our hearts continue to remain with the families and friends of those who tragically lost their lives in impaired driving collisions by coming together to honor and remember them. As we do every year, we remember how these loved ones inspire us. These deaths are preventable. We ask that community members support our efforts by not taking the wheel when drinking, using marijuana or other drugs.

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