MATForce named Jason Burns as the organization’s Community Member of the Year for 2010. This annual award recognizes outstanding community members who volunteer their time and energy helping to achieve MATForce’s goal of building healthier communities by striving to eliminate substance abuse.
Burns grew up in Flagstaff as just a “regular” kid. Today he and his mom, Jamee Rooker, are far from ordinary. A DUI crash in 2002 changed their lives forever. Now living in Prescott and serving as part of the MATForce Speaker’s Bureau, Jason and Jamee spend much of their time telling their story; hoping to help at least one person make a better choice.
Burns, who is now 28 and disabled from the crash, speaks slowly, carefully and with much courage about his life-changing experience and the risks of underage drinking. Jason has spoken to over 2,500 area youth at middle and high schools in the greater Prescott area as well as traveling to Verde Valley area schools. He has spoken with youth in Yavapai County Juvenile Detention and to students at driving schools. His message has appeared in MATForce movie theater ads. Burns is also a regular presenter at the MATForce Youth Drug and Alcohol Impact Panels.
Jason tells his youthful audiences that on the day of his crash he had been drinking. Friends wanted to go to breakfast. He agreed and got in the car with a driver who had been drinking. Minutes later, they rounded a curve and the car rolled. Jason was thrown 74 feet.
Jamee Rooker tells audiences about her memories of that night when she received the call that no mom wants to get. It was a call from the hospital saying that her son had been involved in a DUI crash and was not expected to live.
Burns’ message to teens today is that each day when you get up, you make many choices; like what clothes to wear or what to do after school. Burns knows he made a life altering choice on that day. Today, he challenges others to do what they know is right for themselves, not what someone else wants them to do.
MATForce highly commends Jason Burns for his courage and commitment in helping the young people of Yavapai County make healthier choices for themselves.