2008 Governor's Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award
Brandon Willard, Victim Services Division "Pathfinder" Award
At 18 years old, Brandon Willard got into a car with a friend that had been drinking, believing the friend was only going two (2) blocks to Brandon's house. The friend went the other direction and at 100 mph, hit a guardrail and plunged 75 feet into a dry lake bed. Brandon was left a quadriplegic for life. Because Brandon felt responsible for his own choices, he asked the court for leniency for his friend. Unfortunately, the friend continued to drink and drive. Having great concern for others on the road with drunk drivers, Brandon began his battle to combat drunk driving. With the help of his mother Annette, Brandon has traveled thousands of miles and donated hundreds of hours speaking in schools, prisons and any group that will listen about the effects of drunk driving and the power of forgiveness.
In the years that followed, Brandon suffered yet another horrific accident involving a drunk driver. While driving home after an evening out with his girlfriend in a van specially outfitted for him, a car with three (3) intoxicated young adults pulled out in front of Brandon's van. The occupants of the car were killed. Brandon and his girlfriend suffered multiple serious injuries. Brandon was not expected to live.
Brandon did recover and he continues with his mission. His positive testimony and message of forgiveness has a great impact on the men, women and children he comes in contact with. Because of his work, his love for fellow man and dedication to this cause, the Victim Services Division has selected Brandon Willard as the recipient of the "Pathfinder" Award.
The "Pathfinder" Award is given to an individual or group that has demonstrated leadership qualities in their volunteer service and made significant contributions to the welfare of victims.