Brandon’s Dad: Drinking & Driving NOT Okay

On April 23, 2019, at 1:00pm, students grade 7-12 of Redbank Valley attended a DUI Assembly in the auditorium. The assembly was organized by the Student Council. With prom right around the corner, the need to raise the awareness of the dangers on the road is timely.  Brandon’s Dad, aka Vernon Hilyer, came to talk to the students about a very strong, much-needed topic:  drinking, and driving.   Hilyer shared his personal experience with the students in hope of getting one message across– don’t drink and drive.

“I work daily to save lives and to save parents’ dreams.”

Hilyer is has one tragic backstory. His son Brandon died in a car accident, but it was not just a car crash; it was a drunk driving incident. Hilyer has been speaking and presenting to schools for over 10 years. The goal of his assembly is to prevent someone else from dying.  “I work daily to save lives and to save parents’ dreams.”

Hilyer’s favorite part about sharing his story is the hope that he gives parents and the reality presents teens. One of his fondest memories is a student telling him, “You may have just saved my life today.” He hopes that each student gets the same message from his story — “That careless actions no matter what they are, have effects on the families and those who care about them. 

Brandon, his son, was intoxicated when he hit a bank and rolled the car. He was ejected from the car because of the lack of a seat belt.  He was pronounced dead at the scene. Hilyer knew the day that his son passed that he needed to do something, and before he was buried, he knew that he wanted to start a program. Even though Hilyer has struggled with the loss of his child, he advises that “time heals” and to proceed on with life. One thing that Hilyer has learned from his son’s accident is that “there are more people out there that deal with no children in their families because of drinking and driving. More people have buried their children than you could ever realize.”

Hilyer pushes to protect all of the students that he can by sharing his story with several different schools. To find more information about Brandon’s Dad, you can check out his DUI Awareness Program.