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NR native wins MADD award

New Richmond native and 1992 New Richmond High School graduate Adam Gadach received the VIP Speaker of the Year award from the Minnesota division of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) at an awards banquet on Monday, April 7, at the Science Museum of Minnesota. (Submitted photo)

New Richmond native and 1992 NRHS graduate Adam Gadach has been volunteering with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) since 2008 to help spread the word about drunken driving and how disastrous it can be to the driver and the people around them.

For his years of service to the group, the Minnesota branch of MADD awarded Gadach the VIP Speaker of the Year Award at an awards banquet at the Science Museum of Minnesota on April 7.

“Just to be nominated is incredibly cool,” Gadach said. “And I was one of a few people to be nominated in the whole state of Minnesota. That is a pretty big deal. But in the end, I don’t care about the award; the validation is a bigger deal to me than any award I could get.”

Getting involved with MADD was an easy decision for Gadach. In June 2007, Gadach was hit head-on by a drunken driver while riding his motorcycle. The accident critically injured Gadach, resulting in the loss of one of his legs. But thanks to the help of MADD, he and his family were able to make it through the ordeal, and now he is using his experiences to try and stop other people from driving drunk.

“MADD came alongside my family during one of the hardest times our family has had to deal with, and they were there for us when we needed them,” Gadach said. “I feel like I owe them a debt of gratitude. It is a debt I don’t think I will ever pay back. So I’m going to keep helping them out.”

Gadach is scheduled to share his story once again at the Woodbury High School graduation, which will be one of more than 300 times he has spoken about his experiences with drunken driving. Among the different events at which Gadach speaks are victim impact panels, drivers education classes and school events.

“It is not just me telling about my crash either, because I have been clean and sober for 12 years, so I have my battle with my addiction on top of the accident,” Gadach said. “I love doing what I do. I love the fact that I get to go into a room of complete strangers and talk with them. To be able to be given that gift to walk into that room and possibly change somebody’s life for the better is completely unbelievable.”

It was just two weeks before the awards ceremony that Gadach, who represented the MADD (Metro) Minnesota chapter, was nominated for the Speaker of the Year award. He was up against five other nominees from around Minnesota.

“It was really cool to find out I was nominated for the award,” Gadach said. “It is different for me to get this recognition from MADD, because my wife can tell me I’m doing a good job and I can tell myself I’m doing a good job, but to get that pat on the back from somebody else is invaluable. When I opened the letter I almost started crying because it felt so good. I felt validated that all the work that I do means something. I love it and love doing what I do.”

Gadach’s plan for the future is to stick with MADD as long as he can so he can help as many people as possible.

“I’m on a mission to change the world,” Gadach said. “I feel that drinking and driving is a disease that is 100 percent curable. It is curable by choices and changing the mindset of society. We need to make it not socially acceptable to have a DWI. The first thought that needs to cross your mind when you grab those keys is that ‘I could kill or injure somebody, even myself, and change somebody’s life for the rest of eternity.’” Gadach and his wife Jackie, who live in Osceola, attend Faith Community Church in New Richmond. Gadach works as a customer development associate for Northwire Inc. in Osceola.

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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