At 84 MADD's Lila Doud to retire after 33 years: "Along the Way"

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Mothers Against Drunk Driving is a big name.
However, in South Dakota it's small, with only one local office and it's here in Pennington County.
Since the start it's been run by one woman...and in December she's retiring.

Now, we go "Along the Way" with the local Mother who's dedicated decades to helping victims of drunk driving in South Dakota.

Inside the door of a little office on St. Joseph Street, sits South Dakota's only local Madd Chapter.
84 year old Lila Doud...started this chapter in 19-84...

Lila Doud, Chapter President of MADD, Pennington County says, "Somebody had to do it and I figured I must be that person, in fact I operated out of my house for many years and then finally we got enough to have an office."

A hop, skip, and a jump from a key location.

Lila Doud of MADD, Pennington County says, "It's close enough to the courthouse where I go a lot (chuckles) and I'd never been in a courtroom before and I was scared to death."

Her motivation? She still remembers the phone call from December 1983 when her daughter was injured by a drunk driver.

Lila Doud says, "It happened in the night time, and I was home in bed when I got the call from the hospital that, they said 'She's not dead, but we need you here."

Her daughter is fine now.

Lila says, "other than the glass in her face, she didn't have many after effects but the glass still comes out of her face every once in a while."

More than 3 decades later. But the crash that night launched Lila on a mission that any mother or father can understand.

Lila Doud of MADD, Pennington County says, "Well I wanted to see who this drunk driver was, you know, because I had never been in the court rooms before and that brought me into the courts. And so I knew when he was supposed to appear and I was in the audience. Didn't talk to him but I saw who he was."

This mother- would not sit still, in 1984 starting the MADD chapter here volunteering her time, to help victims and their families.
and seeing photos from over the years, of the mangled carnage of vehicles from drunk driving crashes, it's obvious; if the metal of these cars is crushed, so are many lives: some victims injured, some killed, so many families who will never be the same. And while her office is here, she reaches out across South Dakota.

"I have a real close friend who lost a daughter and she said it seems like yesterday, and it's been 10 years or so, but you never get over it, you never get over that loss," Doud says.

An unspeakable loss: repeated each time a drunk driver ends a life.

Lila says, "Well I always thought, just put them in jail. Just leave them in jail, and that didn't work. And so now I work with chronic repeat offenders."

Dowd has become a key part of the process. She's a panel member on Pennington County's DUI Court. A program where --some of those chronic repeat offenders-- are allowed into a strict rehabilitation program rather than going to prison. If they fail, prison is their next stop.
But that's not all this 84 year old does.

"We do a Victim Impact Panel and I know who the volunteers are that will come and speak and tell their stories to the offenders. The offenders are sentenced to be there," Doud says.

Offenders must sit in this front row, and hear firsthand of drunk driving. After decades as a volunteer, she will soon retire.

Lila Doud says, "Well I hope the drunk drivers have heard me say, you know, I'm not going to tell you not to drink. But if you do drink for God's sake don't get in that car and intend to drive. That's all I ask of you, just don't get in the car to drive. "
Doud says, "Take a taxi, call a friend, get home another way, walk if you have to."

Giving more than 30 years of her life in hopes of saving others.

She plans to retire in December, while still remaining active on Pennington County's DUI court.
After 33 years, a new volunteer will take her place at South Dakota's only local Madd Chapter.

If you've met someone cool "Along the Way" please call us or e-mail me at stevel@blackhillsfox.com to let us know.