Family Works for Traffic Light at Deadly Intersection - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/23/04

Family Works for Traffic Light at Deadly Intersection

For many people, the holidays are a tough time if they've lost a loved one in the past year. It's true for a Bulloch County family still mourning the death of their teenage daughter. Chuck and Tessa Martin have used some unique ways to remember their daughter and help others in her name.

Not every yard has Santa's sleigh pulled by four John Deere tractors. Tessa Martin says it and a message on the roof--"Merry Christmas Madelyn" in lights--are for her late daughter.

"Over the years, she'd always helped me and been a part of it," she said. "So I just wanted to let her know I'm trying to keep going."

The 16 year old died in September when her car collided with another at the corner of Highways 46 and 67. This is the family's first Christmas without her.

To stay busy, Tessa created T-shirts with Madelyn's artwork to sell that benefit her school's art department. "She always came home saying they'd run out of supplies or were out of this and were using the teacher's supplies," explained Tessa.

The family also started a petition to the state to add a traffic light at the spot where Madelyn died. Thanks to the Martins' petition, the DOT researched the traffic flow there and will decide next year whether or not to add a light.

Tessa says if they do, it will be her best Christmas present no matter how late it comes. "I can't get her back, but maybe I can do something positive out of this tragedy we all had to face."

She hopes the daughter who touched hundreds in her life can help thousands in her death.

The family has really pushed to get the traffic light. Tessa says it is what keeps her going through the grief as she deals with the first Thanksgiving, Christmas and every thing else since Madelyn's death.

If you'd like one of the T-shirts featuring Madelyn's artwork, you can buy them at Morgan Creek Old County Store on Highway 67 and Brooklet Drugs in downtown Brooklet.

Reported by: Dal Cannady, dcannady@wtoc.com

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