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The Lutzie 43 Foundation is the 2018 recipient of the Dearth Advocacy Award, an initiative established by Children’s of Alabama in the early 2000s to honor the memory, work and tireless commitment to advocacy of former Children’s CEO Jim Dearth, M.D.
The Dearth Advocacy Award will help the Lutzie 43 Foundation carry out its 43 Key Seconds safe driving initiative that promotes safe driving and encourages teens to be positive ambassadors for safe driving in their communities.
Founded in 2014 in memory of the late Auburn football player Philip Lutzenkirchen, the Lutzie 43 Foundation aims to encourage and empower young people to be positive ambassadors for safe driving through character development, mentorship and real-world application. Philip Lutzenkirchen was killed as a passenger in a single-vehicle accident that involved drunk driving, excessive speeding and lack of seatbelts. In his honor, the Lutzie 43 Foundation launched the 43 Key Seconds initiative to inspire everyone, in particular young people, to stop and prioritize both their safety and the safety of others before driving.
A main pillar of the 43 Key Seconds initiative is the physical 43 Key Seconds key, which is meant to serve as a reminder to drivers to complete the safe driving checklist: clear head, clear hands, clear eyes and clicked seatbelt. The 43 Key Seconds initiative has been supported by prominent names in college football, including Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney, Gus Malzahn and Mark Richt.
The Lutzie 43 Foundation is also a participant in Ur Keys 2 Drv, a teen driver safety initiative designed to educate high schoolers across Alabama about safe driving. Philip’s father and the foundation’s executive director Mike Lutzenkirchen also travels the country speaking to schools and organizations about safe driving and the legacy Philip left behind. Additionally, the foundation awards $4,300 PFL Scholarships to students who have demonstrated positive change in their actions on the road.
“My son’s death could have been avoided had the driver and passengers, including Philip, made smarter decisions behind the wheel and in the car,” said Mike Lutzenkirchen. “I truly believe that if my son had been wearing a seatbelt, he would be here with us today. I have made it my life’s goal to honor Philip’s legacy through this foundation and through the 43 Key Seconds initiative. I am honored by the support I have received from Children’s of Alabama and feel confident that we will prevent distracted driving deaths going forward.”
Past recipients of the Dearth Advocacy Award include AlaQuest Collaborative for Education (ACE), VOICES for Alabama’s Children, Reach Out and Read, Jones Valley Teaching Farm, Alabama LifeStart, Girls on the Run and Teen Trauma.
Since 1911, Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children, offering inpatient and outpatient services throughout central Alabama. Ranked among the best pediatric medical centers in the nation by US News & World Report, Children’s provided care for youngsters from every county in Alabama, 46 other states and seven foreign countries last year, representing more than 676,000 outpatient visits and more than 15,000 inpatient admissions. With more than 2 million square feet, Children’s is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. For more information, visit childrensal.org.