As a DUI offender, Griffen Halko made a mistake that changed his life forever. In Episode 69 of the Defining Success Podcast, we discuss how important it is to evaluate every decision. Griffen’s decision resulted in the death of a good friend, sent him to jail and forever changed his future.
Stay Designated, Inc. was conceptualized in March of 2008, in a hospital bed located in the Intensive Care Unit at UCI Medical Center. While recovering from critical, life threatening injuries, Griffen Halko came face to face with reality.
Before the accident in March 2008, Griffen was working locally in Chino Hills an Diamond Bar. And, he was frequently involved in the night life scene, visiting bars. In March of 2008, Griffen had a night out with a good friend, Eric and his girlfriend at the time. They had a couple of drinks and Griffen drove home and his car was hit by a vehicle in Grand. Eric was killed in the crash. Griffen was transported to UCI Medical Center were he sustained serious injuries and was in a coma. Doctor’s believed he wouldn’t be able to walk. He came out of the coma and became healthy.
Griffen was charged with vehicular manslaughter, two counts of felony DUI and an enhancement with driving above a .15 BAC. While he was laying in his hospital bed, he decided he was going to take this opportunity to educate others about the danger of drinking and driving. He pled out to a felony DUI and started Stay Designated. Both the victim and the perpetrator struggle.
Griffen hopes to educate others so events like these don’t happen again. As a young man, Griffen identifies as an addict, but he does not identify as an alcoholic, but he does make poor decisions while drinking alcohol. Stay Designated has a few different programs. Griffen does a lot of mentoring and a lot of coaching with people who have substance abuse problems.
Stay Designated has a three-tier mission. The first is to educate others about the effects of alcohol and drug use. The second is victim advocacy for those affected and for perpetrators. The third tier, and the most important is to get hands-on in the community to create a designated driver program.
Chances for change brings an individual who fails a drug test at school or work they need to complete an out patient program. They work hands on with a treatment specialist. They have a bunch of courses they need to attend and once their course work is done they can go back to school or work.
Stay Designated is very new. They have weekly marketing meetings and they start working the streets. They work with attorneys, schools, the city, Psychology Today and the Yellow Pages. They also try to work in the community as much as possible. There have been individuals that Griffen has worked with who have achieved clean time and have been able to get their lives back together.
Six years after Griffen’s accident, but this year Griffen was granted an expungement by the courts that put an exclamation point on his success story. One of the most difficult things that Griffen has encountered is that Griffen is looked at as an offender. When Griffen started this program he had no idea what it would become and it has expanded greatly since then. Getting off the ground was probably the hardest thing for Griffen to do.
Engaging Discussion Questions:
- What’s a bad decision you have made that you wish you could take back?
- How important do you think it is to evaluate every decision?
- “When you’re getting in a vehicle, make sure you haven’t been drinking.”
- “Think before you act.”
- “If you have the emotional support and the drive, you can get it done.”
- “If you can go to sleep at night and rest easy and have a good heart than you are successful.”
Links to Great Stuff:
- Stay Designated – “To offer support to those struggling with alcohol as well as other substance abuses and destructive behaviors. With a focus on reducing driving under the influence injuries and fatalities, intoxicated driving, underage drinking, and drug abuse, we strive to offer education and other means of prevention, promote victim advocacy, as well as assist those both directly and indirectly affected. Ultimately, we aim to achieve positive rehabilitation for all parties involved.”