Mother Continues Fighting Underage Drinking in Honor of Son - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

11/28/06

Mother Continues Fighting Underage Drinking in Honor of Son

Gale Coleman-Brown with picture of her son, Barry. Gale Coleman-Brown with picture of her son, Barry.

One picture brings it all back for one mother.

Gale Coleman-Brown said she will never forget her son's image.

"Barry was blonde with sky blue eyes," said Coleman-Brown.

Her son Barry was born on December 14, 1965.  The second of three boys, he grew up like most boys his age, playing baseball.

On May 16, 1980, while living in Florida, Barry was riding his bike home from a baseball game when he was hit by a 19-year-old driver who had just left a bar.

"I thought well he's got scrapes and bruises, maybe a broken arm," said Coleman-Brown.

But it was far more serious.  The accident left Barry in a coma and his mother praying for her son's life.

"I would sit in the middle of my bed and just scream, because I was in so much pain," said Coleman-Brown.

Her son's pain would end 21 days later, but not Gale's.

"Children are suppose to bury parents, not parents burying children," said Coleman-Brown.

It's been more than 16 years since her son's funeral.  But according to Gale his spirit lives on in her new mission in life, warning other parents about the dangers of teenagers and alcohol.

Last year there were six fatalities involving drivers under the age of 21 and under the influence of alcohol according to Georgia Department of Transportation.  A number that Gale feels reflects parental influence.

"Parents that have alcohol in their homes just give a child the ok.  Hey my parents do it, it's ok if I do it," said Coleman-Brown.

Gale said her son may be gone but she will not give up the fight to end under age drinking here in the Coastal Empire.

"It's not like we're condemning people that drink, that's a privilege they have, if they're 21," said Coleman Brown.

Reported by: David Hall, dhall@wtoc.com  

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