Memorial sign for Mesquite DWI victim finds a new home

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by TERESA WOODARD

WFAA

Posted on April 10, 2013 at 10:54 PM

MESQUITE — It's just hiding in a corner. And that's not what it's supposed to do.

"A sign doesn't need to be collecting dust in a bedroom," said Julie Blasingame, a still-grieving mother. She and husband Guy lost their oldest child, Rachel, on May 30, 2003.

A drunk driver was responsible for the deadly crash. It happened the day after Rachel completed her junior year at Mesquite High School.

Out of their daughter's death came determination. The Blasingames lobbied the state of Texas to install cable barriers on interstate highways to stop cross over crashes, like the one that killed Rachel.

Then they convinced lawmakers to let families install memorial signs at crash sites. But a federal law requires those signs to be only temporary, so Rachel's came down in 2012.

"Seeing that sign up there on 635 was a reminder her influence is still there; people saw her name," Julie Blasingame "When it came down, it's like that hole in my heart was there again."

"A sign is made to be seen," added Guy Blasingame.

Now, Rachel's memorial is going back up. The sign that reads "Please don't drink and drive, in memory of Rachel Blasingame" will be installed Thursday on the side of the Family Life Center at Valley Creek Church of Christ in Mesquite, where Rachel spent so much time.

The church agreed, and the city of Mesquite agreed it was a perfect place. Cars going northbound on Pioneer Road will see it.

"Yes, we do want Rachel to be remembered, that's a very important message, but the message of 'don't drink and drive' is almost as important," her father said.

"We feel like Rachel's' legacy will continue on," Julie added.

She's hoping families across Texas who've had their signs removed will now be inspired to try and find other places for them to be installed. She believes these public pleas should not be hidden from view.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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