Archives for : April 2011


Unintentionally he has been pushed aside. He is quiet yet livid but remains sturdy and stoic. He has lost his best friend. He feels the burden that he has taken his sisters husband, his only niece her daddy. He feels disgraced. Will the shame “eat him up” or empower him?

“He” is my only brother; a beautiful, bold and loving young man that has seen the world at its worst in his life time. He has rolled with the punches and has cautiously come through each battle with only bruises. This time though is different; he is not bruised but shattered. He can not seem to “swim” through the “muck.”

He was the first and the last. The first to feel the devastating physical affects of the violent crash. The first to touch my husband and say “Mark Buddy wake up, we need you! Your wife needs you; your baby on the way needs you.” He was the first to know that his best friend was not going to wake up and the first to hear Marks last breath. The first to meet me when I arrived at the scene! To cry in horror that he is so sorry! The first to meet Marks parents that he has always incredibly adored; to cry to them and say “I wish it were me instead of Mark! “ I am so sorry!” I could hear his screams across the State Road that was now overflowing with wrecked cars, emergency vehicles and deep sorrowful emotions!
He was the first to feel the impact of this devastating tragic crash and the last to deal with the emotional havoc that will plague him for the rest of his life.

The anguish that runs through his blood daily is painful to watch. We lost two amazing and beautiful young men that night. An instant decision changed the lives of two great men in my life; the physical death of Mark and the emotional strength of my brother.

A red light runner caused this devastating event in my home; two vibrant men in my life are now gone, one physically and one absent emotionally. Since this tragic night 8 years ago all I have wanted to do is find a way to curb this negligent behavior.

Red light Running kills, maims and seriously injures. May 10, 2013 after 5 years of advocating the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act became a law. This law simply allows communities to install Red Light Safety Cameras ; A way to curb negligent behavior, to re-educate drivers on how to STOP on Red again and a law that will prevent crashes and save lives at our deadliest of intersections.

Driving really is about; COMON SENSE, COURTESY, RESPECT FOR EACH OTHER AND KEEPING OUR EYES ON THE ROAD! Due to our irrational driving behavior we have shown the we need technology to teach our motorists how to make safe, sound and life altering decisions while on our highways! I can not change what happened but I believe with my AUTHENTIC ADVOCACY COMBINED WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT, EDUCATION AND TECHNOLOGY (RED LIGHT SAFETY CAMERAS) together we will ENCOURAGE and EMPOWER motorists to be mindful while driving their loaded weapons! I truly believe in turn this will lead to a day where we WILL experience SAFER highways and far LESS tragedies!

The Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act is giant step for our State and one tiny step towards healing some of the deep wounds in my family; A little peace for my family to embrace and to hold and a life-saving legacy that will be shared for generations to come.

I can not bring my husband back and I can only be there to support the broken survivor; my beautiful brother. In two totally different ways a red light runner took them from our family and now we are all left to pick up the broken pieces.

If you know a survivor or meet one; thank them. Thank them for their courage and acknowledge that they have been through an unimaginable event in their lives. Encourage them to release the guilt of being a survivor and let them know that they are loved and appreciated. Reach out you may never know who you may empower to go on for one more day!


Mark’s dedication to his family and friends was truly inspiring and his love forchildren left a lasting impression on all who knew him. This foundation has been set up to continue supporting children in his name.
Mark was above all, a humanitarian. His compassion, intelligence and love created a light in the lives of others that was a testimony to the size of his heart. His laughter was big and contagious and his charisma could not be ignored.

The positive impact his life had in this community and the world can and will be continued on through the good works of the Foundation.


Madisyn is a little girl with a big heart. I am amazed every day with her giving spirit… but then she is her Daddy through and through!

Madisyn Grace lost her father 2 weeks before she was born. She feels her Daddy is with her like a guardian angel and she wants other children to know that when they feel lonely, have bad dreams, experience trauma or face personal challenges they can remember that they are loved.

Madisyn’s mission has lead the Mark Wandall Foundation to partner with® is an innovative toy company that offers children and parents an easy avenue to playfully develop and maintain intimate connection through nurturing conversation. They believe and we strongly agree, that it is through meaningful conversation that we grow more self-esteem, more self-confidence and more hope for ourselves and our world.

There are 8 different characters to choose from. Every toy has a magical star-covered pocket in which to tuck feeling-wishes. Included with each toy is a special wish from Mark’s beloved daughter, Madison Grace, and the Feeling-Wish game to play with your child.

When you purchase a toy through a portion of the proceeds will support the Mark Wandall Foundation. In addition the foundation is working with Florida law enforcement to carry these toys in their vehicles to offer children who have been involved in a vehicle collision a sense of comfort. Madisyn’s feeling-wish for those affected is to know that THEY ARE LOVED.



WOW! Here I go again! My week is going along great! Getting things accomplished, new ideas are coming to fruition, I can make it to all of my daughter’s events, I am even finally having breakfast with my parents, I can not even tell you the last time that happened! BAM! Tallahassee Calls my name! Just like that!

The Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act is up for Repeal! My mind starts racing! When is the hearing, what time, can I make the 5 hour drive up and back on Wednesday? I have 2 meetings that day that I need to reschedule. What am I going to do with my daughter? I need to start a CALL TO ACTION! SO many things to do I have a day and a half to prepare for my long day away from my already busy week plus prepare emotionally for what I am about to encounter!

My friends asked me today how do you do it? One of my friends asked me that this morning pre-Tallahassee phone call “How do you make it all work.” Another friend asked me post-Tallahassee phone call “How do you do it all without going crazy!!

They both are asking how do you manage?

Your mindset can totally determine how you react to any situation on any given day. A healthy attitude creates a healthy mind. We have to keep our body, soul and mind connected. I know, I know…it is easier said than done! It takes practice! Trust me!

You have to teach yourself how to take a moment to take a deep breath and assess the situation. This will give you time to be proactive versus reactive to any given situation. If you REACT most times you will ATTACK! Your point does not come across well, one becomes so stressed that nothing gets accomplished and no one wins?

You have to stay grounded. A healthy mind makes for a very healthy spirit! The most challenging of situations can be dealt with if you choose to accept your challenge instead of being hostile towards it.

Find your “breathing space.” Is it meditation? Is it finding your own mantra to move you through these moments? Here is one of my favorites that I recite quite often:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change the courage to change the things I can and the Wisdom to know the difference.”

Having a mental plan when the world closes in a little too tightly will save your emotions from running wild! Whatever your plan is practice! You can make a difference in your life by how you react! Remember we always want to keep our body, soul and mind connected so that we are “clear” to make the best decisions when life simply “happens.”

THE 7th YEAR  4

Melissa & Madisyn- Christmas 2010
I am not really sure what it is? The itch? The sorrow? My daughters age? I really feel as if I am in some form of a transformation. I have always known since the day my husband passed that he was not coming back. In this 7th year though I miss him terribly, he was love, light and power all wrapped up into one beautiful life. The moments are hearts collided we were a complete team. Our plan was to take life together; to work through life, love and loss. We would always “chuckle” and say “my luv what would I do without you?

In this 7th year I find myself searching, grieving and asking? “My luv I don’t want to do this without you?” Our love child is 7; gifted to me by God and my husband. Her soul is beautiful, serene and at times touched by the “toxins” of this world. When she hurts; I hurt. I look to my Mark for answers to her I can not even begin to give. He is not physically here to give our child that which I can not give?

In this 7th wear I feel weak in my heart and my knees as I replay in my “head” “I am sorry he is gone.” Where I have always just picked up the pieces with no other thoughts I am thinking. I am thinking what now? How do I go on socially? What expectations are there for me? My husband is a true gift to me. I love for life; it is my nature. In this 7th year people look to me to move on? Move on? What does that mean?
In the 6th year my daughter felt as if she had to have a talk with me in Tallahassee as we were going to the Capitol to talk with legislatures about our Safety Act in her daddy’s name. She held my hand, looked up at me with those big bold hazel eyes and said “Momma you know its okay to marry someone again some day.” Daddy would want that! What? Where did that come from? Dating is not even in my vocabulary. I love for life and I am married to my one true love?

In this 7th year the same child comes to me a bit shaken and says “Momma promise me you will always be married to Daddy.” ?

In this 7th year I am lost. In a place that I never wanted to be and questions that I can not even begin to answer myself.

In this 7th year I feel. These questions I am sure have presented themselves several times but I may have just been “numb.”

In this 7th year I am love; always have been, always will be and always will possess.

In this 7th year life will always happen, their will always be mountains to climb, tears to wipe away and sorrow that will shake the soul.

In this 7th year I still believe that good wholesome love will help me through these moments. The questions, the social fears and the loss of my lover, best friend and confidant.

In this 7th year I will embrace myself and I will call on my Angel for help I will whisper “guide me my Luv, help me to do this without you.

In this 7th year I will take many deep breaths, weep for what has left my life physically and be in gratitude for the love laughter and goodness that is present in my life today. I will not look back at what is missing but what is here. I will embrace love and life and know that our hearts are still connected and that I am never alone.

In this 7th year as I heal and embrace this “journey” of mine I will lend a hand to those seeking. To teach that life and love go hand in hand and that pure love is always present and will never let you down; no matter the form. I will first take the time to mend my heart and then I will go towards those who feel powerless, empty and lost and I shall share my strength.