Bryan Crialles was supported—physically and emotionally—by his mother and fiancée as he crossed the finish line on his own feet at the recent Walk Like MADD/MADD Dash at Tropical Park.
It was just over two years ago that he and his mom were driving his sister to the Fort Lauderdale airport to drop her off for a trip to Rutgers University. Carmen Crialles had been accepted to medical school there and was going to the orientation.
They were hit head-on by a drunk driver going the wrong way on I-95. Carmen was killed, and Bryan and his mother, Elisa Diaz, were both seriously injured. Bryan remains in a wheelchair.
“I never dreamed I would see Bryan walk. It moves me to tears that he took supported, but triumphal steps, at the very event that is designed to honor him and raise awareness about the crime that injured him so severely,” said Sally Matson, victim advocate for Mothers Against Drunk Driving Florida South Affiliate, in an email.
“Bryan needs more. He needs more physical therapy and more speech therapy, but the desire to progress is built into him. He works hard and responds to the enthusiasm of his mother and his fiancee, Amani Gil, who never leave his side,” Matson said.
Besides the grieving and physical pain left by the crash, the family has been devastated with medical bills and has faced limits on physical therapy and other things that could improve Bryan’s quality of life.
The Crialles family and Matson were joined at the event by Helen Witty who, with Matson, spearheaded this year’s event. Witty’s child, Helen Marie Witty, was a sophomore in high school when she was killed by a drunk driver on Red Road in Pinecrest.
“Each year’s walk has a unique spirit and this year was full of heart and soul,” said Helen Witty in an email.
“Our Walk is a fundraiser and an awareness raiser, but it is also a time for victims to come together,” Matson said. “At the Walk, you see others who have experienced a similar loss and there is an instant understanding. There is so much you don’t have to explain. Survivors from many years ago serve as an inspiration to those who are new to the grief journey.”
Many of the stories, like Bryan’s, are ones of persistence and triumph.
Diana Castillo, a staunch supporter of MADD, was at the Walk to honor her father. Robert Castillo was killed by a drunk driver while cycling in 2005.
At the finish line on Feb. 24, Diana Castillo got a big surprise when her longtime boyfriend asked her to marry him. Fernando Prego, who at Diana’s arrival promptly knelt on one knee to ask the question, wanted to find a way to include Diana’s dad in their day of joy.
Three out of four teens say their parents are the primary influence on their ideas about drinking. Learn more at https://www.madd.org/the-solution/power-of-parents/. April 21 is the national day to talk to your kids about alcohol. But do it now.
Help kids get dental care
You can share in the funding of the free children’s dental clinic, sponsored by members of the Coral Gables Woman's Club, at the group’s "Oscars Through the Years" gala at 7 p.m., March 24, at 1001-9 E. Ponce de Leon Blvd.
Planned are contests, a silent auction, dancing, and a gourmet dinner by celebrity chef Chris Valdes. Tickets are $95 per person. For tickets, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
HistoryMiami Museum celebrates
Hialeah Park was transformed into a tropical oasis for the second annual Flamingo Ball March 3 when more than 250 guests gathered for award giving and a fabulous party.
Organized by HistoryMiami Museum, the event paid tribute to the late Hialeah Park owner John Brunetti who died just one day before.
Brunetti was owner of the famous park for over 40 years. He was a longtime supporter of the original Flamingo Ball, one of the most glamorous parties of 1960-70s Miami, and decided to bring it back last year.
Brunetti named HistoryMiami Museum as the sole beneficiary. Also honored were the HEICO Corp.and the Mendelson Family who received the Henry Flagler Award, a tribute to the pioneer who helped develop Miami.
“We’re so happy to receive this honor. It’s really a terrific event and a terrific cause for HistoryMiami,” said Eric Mendelson in a release. “We’re just very happy to be part of this city. We couldn’t be happier to be members of this great community.”
“The Art of Soulebrity”
On display will be Moore’s 1968 Grammy award and his 1992 Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction piece, as well as a Bruce Springsteen hat from their performance together in 2012.
Digital art reproduced with archival ink on museum acrylic by artist Brigitte Andrade and iconic items related to the Civil Rights Movement in Miami will be showcased.
"I am flattered that HistoryMiami Museum is honoring my legacy by creating an exhibition,” Moore said in a release. “I am also looking forward to sharing my experience growing up in Overtown during such a pivotal time in American history.” He rose to international stardom in the 1960s and his influence is still felt today.
“HistoryMiamiMuseum is proud to host this exhibition, as it is our mission to preserve and tell Miami’s stories,” said HistoryMiami Museum Director Jorge Zamanillo in a release. “It is imperative that influential figures who fought for equality, like Sam Moore, are honored. It is only fitting that we acknowledge and reflect upon this time during Black History Month.”
If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at email@example.com.