Celebrations, Sledding, and Mattresses

  • Published
  • By Col. Kenneth Stefanek
  • 39th Air Base Wing vice commander
Early last week, three men who were vacationing near Turin, Italy, decided some late-night sledding might be fun. The trio didn't have a sled, so they improvised by pulling the foam rubber mattress covering from a pole that supported a safety net.

Given the volume of alcohol they had consumed that evening, I'm sure the men thought the safety net would provide adequate protection from any kind of mishap. They hopped aboard the mattress/sled, quickly gathered speed and slammed into the pole the mattress used to cover, killing one of the three men.

The man's wife lamented "It was just a tragic accident; David was just out having a good time."

Like many vacations, I'm sure this one started out as either a celebration of some special event or as a celebration of life in general.

Likewise we have every reason to celebrate given our recent NSI success; we worked very hard to achieve a goal and by any standard, the accolades we earned showed we met/exceeded that goal.

Our challenge now is to celebrate in a way that doesn't diminish our accomplishment. I'm all for toasting success with an ice-cold beer, good glass of wine, or single-malt scotch and I'd guess many of you have favorite drinks to celebrate with as well.

The key is to "celebrate" in moderation, as too many can easily lead to tragedy. The fact is that nothing will deflate the community as quickly as a senseless accident like one the widow above is living through.

PLEASE take care or each other, make a plan and stick to it, analyze the risks before drinking, and celebrate responsibly; by doing so you'll be able to continue ensuring freedom's future.