National Scholarship Winner Wants to Put an End to Drunk Driving
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (May 7, 2020) — Brandon Parento 17, a high school senior from Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, was chosen as winner of the spring 2020 National Johnson Attorneys Group Never Drink and Drive Scholarship.
“We were very impressed by Brandon’s essay,” said Attorney James Johnson, Founder of Johnson Attorneys Group. “He certainly shares the sentiments we have about drunk drivers and our ongoing mission to put an end to drunk driving.”
We received roughly 300 essays for our spring scholarship competition, but Brandon’s essay stood out from the others. He wrote about a friend of his from his church and the challenges and struggles the young man faced after becoming a victim of a drunk driver.
You may read the essay in its entirety on our website, but here is some of what he wrote in his winning essay:
“Paralyzed from the waist down, unable to communicate, and tattooed with physical and emotional scars, Brandon was told he would never talk or walk again,” Brandon P. writes in his winning essay. “However, Brandon proved everyone wrong. After two years of prayer and physical therapy. Brandon was able to walk again with the assistance of a cane. A year later, Brandon’s speech improved drastically. Beginning with syllables, then words, and now sentences.
Today, Brandon continues to look after others as he shares his story with young people and speaks about the lasting impacts of drinking and driving. In order to protect the lives of innocent people like Brandon, I believe it is paramount to stop future accidents. Bringing awareness and public support can lead the fight to eliminate drinking and driving before it ever happens. Offering informative seminars by victims like Brandon, and previous drunk drivers at schools and community events, can help raise awareness. Where children and adults can learn their story and avoid the same mistakes that drunk drivers made. Also understand the emotional and physical pain of the victim.”
Brandon Parento first met his friend Brandon at church after learning of the drunk driving accident. The priest asked the parishioners to pray for the injured young man after he nearly died. Doctors thought he would never walk or talk again, but the young man was eventually able to walk with a cane and regained his ability to talk, Brandon said.
Christopher Garcia, program specialist, Southern California Region of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), said that all the essays written by our nine finalists were great, but this one stood out the most.
“Right away you feel like you’re at the scene of a drunk driving arrest, and then the way the story was told about his friend Brandon and what he overcame definitely resonates with MADD and all the victims we serve on a daily basis,” Garcia said.
The mission of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) as stated on their website is “to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes, and prevent underage drinking.” Johnson Attorneys Group has been a proud sponsor of the Walk Like MADD fundraiser for the past seven years.
More About Our Winner Brandon Parento
Brandon was born and raised in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania where his mom is a social worker and his dad has worked as a truck driver. He is currently a senior at Phoenixville High School.
He was accepted to Drexel University in Philidelphia where he will be majoring in mechanical engineering. His passion is math and automobiles. He loves to build contraptions and work out experimental problems so he became involved in the annual International Young Physicists’ Tournament.
Like most high school seniors, the coronavirus pandemic has forced him to stay at home where he says he misses his friends, school and all the events leading up to graduation. Two days ago the school delivered a sign to the homes of senior high school students in the area, but Brandon is hoping that eventually they will hold a ceremony.
“As a senior, the past few months have been tough,” he said. “I don’t mind that graduation is postponed, but I hope they don’t cancel it.”
After college, Brandon hopes to work in the automotive industry designing or building vehicles for Ford or Dodge.
About the Never Drink and Drive Scholarship Competition.
Johnson Attorneys Group asked high school seniors and college students to write us an essay about how drunk driving has impacted their lives or what they would do to fix the epidemic that is taking lives and impacting families across the United States.
The response to our scholarship competition was eye-opening. We certainly expected heartfelt essays about losing a loved one or from those who were injured in a collision, but we were surprised at how many young people wrote about the trauma they experience from their own relatives who have driven drunk. Some of our entrants spoke about their own mistakes and how they learned from them and try to help others.
Indeed, we received dozens of heart-wrenching essays from college students and high school seniors from across the country who were asked to write an essay about how drunk driving has affected them or someone they know, why we should care it and how they would bring awareness to their community.
Please consider entering our 2021 Never Drink and Drive Scholarship competition. Submissions should be made by March 11th.
— Johnson Attorneys Group has been a proud sponsor of MADD since 2013
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