Reno activists named as "Difference Makers" in drunk driving campaign

Reno activists Jim and Annie Holmes have been named "Difference Makers" for their commitment to combat drunk driving and underage drinking.

The honor was bestowed as part of Mothers Against Drunk Driving's 20th anniversary campaign honoring volunteer Difference Makers every day during the year 2000.

Jim and Annie were recognized Thursday as Difference Makers on the MADD National Web site at

The Holmes have been involved with MADD Lyon County Chapter since 1996, shortly after the death of their son, DJ Bernardis.

DJ was an honor student at Bishop Manogue High School, was looking forward to his graduation and was planning his college career at Notre Dame.

The day after he received his acceptance letter to Notre Dame, DJ was killed by an impaired driver in the "spaghetti bowl" - the Interstate 80 and Highway 395 interchange in Reno - while driving home from school.

It has been four years since DJ's death, and he was to have graduated from Notre Dame in May 2000.

Instead, DJ received an honorary degree posthumously that his parents display as they tell of the alcohol-related tragedy that took their son on April 2, 1996.

The Holmes have also produced a public service announcement, "Shattered Dreams," to memorialize DJ's life and to deter drinking and driving.

"There are so many special people who have made a positive impact on our organization," said MADD National President Millie Webb.

"MADD 2000: Celebrating Difference Makers" was selected as the theme for the organization's 20th anniversary commemoration.

Local chapters, community action teams and state organizations of MADD were asked to nominate Difference Makers from their communities. Difference Makers are being honored for their volunteer efforts such as developing chapters, coordinating public policy initiatives, public speaking, victim advocacy, public awareness and more.

Of the more than 700 Difference Makers, 20 outstanding volunteers will be chosen to receive special recognition at MADD's National Conference to be held in September 2000 in Alexandria, Va.

MADD is also planning a national news conference in the nation's capital to commemorate its two-decade presence in the war against drunk driving which will coincide with the conference activities.


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