November 28, 2013

Safety effort includes young drivers


---- — PERU — A pedestrian-safety presentation to CV-TEC students in Plattsburgh prompted an invitation for the same talk for four other classes in the near future.

Those students are high-school juniors and seniors, and many likely have driver’s licenses, said Christol Mastic, who makes the presentations in memory of her son, Brandon, who died Nov. 15, 2011, when his car struck two dark-clothed pedestrians walking on Peasleeville Road in Peru.

Those teens in the roadway, Dat. T. Ong and Chu “Allen” Xiong, also died, as did Brandon’s girlfriend, Samantha Donah, who was riding with him. 

”We’re catching the young drivers now,” said Mastic, who organized the Brandon Sorrell Scholarship Foundation, which supports the pedestrian-safety efforts.

”But we will continue to do pedestrian safety (talks) for anyone who wants them.”

Through the autumn, Mastic and friends of Brandon made presentations at local schools, handing out florescent safety-green T-shirts, belts, shoelaces — as funding permitted — and safety information.

The recent Brandon Sorrell Memorial Scholarship Foundation dinner helped raise money to continue that effort and for annual scholarships for high-school seniors.  

Mastic was bowled over by the many and varied donations for the event and expressed deep gratitude to all who helped and attended.

”It was great support,” she said.

The dinner didn’t raise quite as much money as the one held in 2012, but Mastic said the pedestrian-safety project will continue to grow regardless.

That’s where her heart is, for she feels driven to raise awareness for those on foot or behind the wheel to help prevent accidents like the one that ended those four lives two years ago.

Mastic emphasizes the need to follow the rules of the road — among them keeping to the speed limit, walking or running against traffic, checking carefully before entering a roadway.

And pedestrians and motorists should take special care at dusk and after dark, when visibility is much reduced, she said.

To request a presentation or make a donation, reach Mastic at

On Jan. 1, she added, the scholarship application for 2014 will be on the foundation website, Pedestrian safety information is located there, as well.

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