This Saturday, July 4, we celebrate our 239th Independence Day, commemorating the anniversary of the founding of our country, and our freedom and independence.

While it is a time for celebration, relaxation and a chance to get away from the daily routine, the holiday is also a time when we see an increase in preventable, off-duty accidents. The risk of serious injury due to drinking and driving continues to be a significant threat to everyone. Leaders must emphasize the risks and consequences of drinking when engaging in any activity, especially driving. Remember, adopting a careless attitude can be fatal.

I encourage everyone to do their part to prevent accidents and injuries by thinking before acting, always! Consider safety when planning all your activities. Keep a close watch on your children, especially around swimming pools, barbecue grills and fireworks.

I wish you all a fun-filled and safe holiday!

Col. Michelle D. Mitchell