Behind every crash statistic is a story
Every community, unfortunately, has to endure losses from time to time. And some of those losses are the result of a tragic traffic crash.
But behind every tragedy - every face - there is a story.
Just ask David and Loni Kjos or Brad and Sue Dumm of Alexandria.
The story of their two loved ones - Kelsey Kjos and Dennis Dumm - can be found on the new Minnesota Crash Victims Memorial website, www.minnesotacrashvictims.org.
The website was recently created by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety - believed to be the first of its kind in the nation.
The first "face" to be remembered on the site is Kelsey Kjos, who died at the age of 16 on November 8, 2004 as a result of a traffic crash - she was not wearing her seat belt.
Her death, along with her family's perseverance, helped legislators enact the primary seat belt law.
Dennis Dumm, who grew up in Alexandria, lost his life at the age of 31 on May 20, 2009, while riding his bicycle to work in Minneapolis. His is the second life remembered on the website.
Loni Kjos was first contacted about the memorial website back in 2009 by Nathan Bowie from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
She said it took awhile to feel OK about putting Kelsey's story on the website.
"The word memorial...it's just so hard," said Loni Kjos.
She explained that Kelsey's sister, Alexia, is the one who eventually put the information up on the crash victim's website.
There is information about the crash and information about Kelsey, including the fact that "everyone who was fortunate to know her was blessed by her positive attitude, humor, love and understanding."
It also states on Kelsey's page, "Not a day goes by that we don't wonder what Kelsey would be doing, where she would be, what she would say, what joke she would be cracking us up with or what movie she would be making...God gave us a gift and we will honor her until we see her again."
Dumm's parents, Brad and Sue, also feel the same way. Sue said, "There isn't a day we don't think about him."
The website, said Sue, is a way to say, "Please remember him with us."
Both Brad and Sue believe that there is a real desire to keep Dennis' memory alive. They hope that those who visit the website and read the stories will drive just a little more carefully and be a little more alert when they are out on the roads.
The Kjos and Dumm families appreciate all the support and prayers they've received from their families, friends, neighbors and strangers.
"We are grateful for the Minnesota Crash Victims Memorial website," said Brad Dumm. "The sudden impact of such an accident is so traumatic. All these people on the site have lost a loved one...it is just so difficult to deal with."