Once a month, College Station resident Dennis Gloyna gets ready to go out and relive the worst day of his life. In a couple of hours, he'll stand in front of a room full of strangers and recall the day his life was shattered. The day a drunk driver killed his best friend, his soul mate, his wife, Judy.
Dennis now shares his story with alcohol offenders as part of the Brazos County MADD chapter's Drunk Driving Impact Panel. It's never easy for Dennis. But this night is particularly difficult. It's the three year anniversary of Judy's death. "I feel like I'm alone and am going to be alone the rest of my life," he tells the audience. "And it's really hurting. Its changed my life."
Dennis is one of a handful of family and friends of drunk driving victims who voluntarily share their stories with alcohol offenders. For Dennis, it's an attempt at making something good out of a tragic situation. But it does little to numb his pain.
"I go home, take a shower and go ride around an hour or two. I don't know where I'm going to ride to, don't know what I'm going to find when I get there," he said. "I've even gone as far as Bellville, Brenham, Lake Somerville. I don't know if i'm just expecting her to show up one time and it all be back to normal. Would be nice if that happened. Or it would be nice if God would just switch places and let me be the one that died."
As Dennis pours out his heart, subdued sniffles ripple through the audience. It's apparent his message is getting through. Which can be just as cathartic for the messenger. "For some of them, they say it's almost like going to counseling only you have a completely different audience," said MADD Project Coordinator Vicki Mercer. "To know they're making a difference with what's happened really seems to be helping." Brazos Valley MADD Founder Kirk Brown agrees. "By being able to stand up and talk about it, it helps them somewhat in their healing process and being able to deal with it better."
Helping others does help Dennis, although he'd gladly trade it all to have his best friend back.
But Dennis knows that's not going to happen, so he does what he's been doing since November 9, 2003, try to make the best out of the worst day of his life.