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2 Southeast Minnesota people recognized by Towards Zero Deaths

A Dodge Center woman and an Albert Lea man are being recognized for their efforts to help make the roads more safe.

Posted: Oct 25, 2018 6:04 PM

DODGE CENTER, Minn. - Emily Steffens was co-valedictorian of her high school class in Sleepy Eye, the lead of many school plays, and a cheerleader. She sang, played bassoon, and placed 1st in the state speech competition. She was going to attend St. Catherine's University in St. Paul, but one week after graduation, her life was changed forever. On her way home from class registration, an RV pulled out in front of the car she was in. The cars collided, and Emily was thrown into the front of the car because she was not wearing her seatbelt. Emily is now a 37-year-old woman living with a severe traumatic brain injury. Her right side is paralyzed, she is partially blind in each eye, and she has memory issues.

Two years ago, Emily began using her story to spread an important message about safe driving. She writes a weekly column titled 'It's my life' in the Byron Review and Star Herald. Her father, Larry Dobson, helps her write the column by asking her questions, but the words are Emily's own.

"Despite everything I've gone through, I am still a wonderful woman and that is always important," says Emily.

"I encouraged her to start the column because she talked about feeling like she didn't have any worth really," explains Larry Dobson.

"It gives Emily a feeling of purpose. She's making a difference," adds Emily's mother Melanie Dobson.

Emily's column and her advocacy earned her Toward Zero Death's 'Special Recognition Award' at TZD's conference in Mankato Tuesday and Wednesday. The audience gave her a standing ovation. The award is particularly special because TZD doesn't give it out every year.

"Through her community news column, as well as speaking in front of some of our traffic safety groups has really made a difference and motivated others to do good work," explains Statewide Toward Zero Deaths Coordinator Kristine Hernandez.

Emily's column's purpose is to brighten people's days and remind them how quickly a car crash can change a life.

"Live every day like it could be your last because someday it really will be your last. And always seat belt use... seat belt use is so very important," says Emily.

Albert Lea Police Leiutenant Jeff Strom received Toward Zero Death's 'Education Star Award.' He's active in the Freeborn County Safe Roads Coalition and is involved in a variety of safe driving educational efforts in the area. He takes part in safety events at local schools and organizes mock crashes and speakers. He also coordinates child passenger safety clinic and volunteers to teach a ;arhe part of the parent component of driver's education.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 449492

Reported Deaths: 6047
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin933031483
Ramsey40134741
Dakota33159344
Anoka31061365
Washington20220230
Stearns17922188
St. Louis13730242
Scott1199496
Wright11656104
Olmsted1054775
Sherburne822065
Carver696436
Clay653981
Rice610769
Kandiyohi554871
Blue Earth543233
Crow Wing484877
Otter Tail457967
Chisago453336
Benton421086
Winona390046
Douglas375766
Nobles371746
Mower367829
Goodhue349259
Polk328958
McLeod325745
Morrison312145
Beltrami311048
Lyon302538
Becker286239
Itasca285243
Isanti282941
Carlton280943
Steele27489
Pine267013
Freeborn247923
Todd232230
Nicollet225436
Brown215534
Mille Lacs214545
Le Sueur210715
Cass207723
Meeker200033
Waseca190116
Wabasha17243
Martin170826
Roseau165717
Hubbard149538
Redwood139827
Renville137540
Houston137213
Dodge13544
Chippewa131632
Cottonwood127718
Fillmore12435
Wadena120117
Rock110312
Sibley10857
Aitkin108333
Faribault106716
Watonwan10678
Pennington99715
Kanabec98018
Pipestone94723
Yellow Medicine93715
Murray8935
Jackson86010
Swift83518
Pope7415
Marshall70315
Stevens7018
Clearwater68514
Lac qui Parle65716
Lake64915
Wilkin6269
Koochiching59710
Lincoln4871
Big Stone4603
Unassigned43668
Grant4298
Norman4248
Mahnomen4107
Kittson37220
Red Lake3174
Traverse2523
Lake of the Woods1951
Cook1150

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307088

Reported Deaths: 4340
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk46016457
Linn17864278
Scott15566166
Black Hawk13875238
Woodbury13040177
Johnson1216051
Dubuque11434153
Pottawattamie9047113
Dallas896572
Story871235
Webster470172
Cerro Gordo467871
Sioux456157
Clinton451863
Warren449038
Marshall428662
Buena Vista393829
Muscatine392278
Des Moines383641
Plymouth351468
Wapello346598
Jasper324059
Lee318131
Marion305752
Jones272649
Henry264831
Carroll255934
Bremer246848
Crawford232324
Washington220332
Boone219517
Benton210150
Mahaska195037
Jackson193031
Tama188758
Dickinson186227
Kossuth174844
Delaware174536
Clay169820
Wright165224
Fayette163623
Hamilton160730
Buchanan160423
Winneshiek156919
Harrison156762
Hardin155529
Cedar154219
Clayton151548
Butler149224
Page144915
Floyd139836
Cherokee139227
Mills136916
Lyon135732
Poweshiek133924
Hancock130724
Allamakee129628
Iowa126022
Calhoun12299
Grundy121626
Jefferson121325
Madison12129
Winnebago119729
Mitchell116235
Louisa115430
Cass113942
Chickasaw112212
Sac111115
Emmet110831
Appanoose110740
Union109222
Humboldt105819
Guthrie103424
Shelby103427
Franklin102718
Unassigned9410
Palo Alto90910
Montgomery86423
Keokuk85626
Howard84419
Monroe81319
Clarke7987
Pocahontas77711
Ida74730
Davis69421
Greene6947
Adair69020
Lucas6589
Monona64616
Osceola6419
Worth6133
Taylor5949
Fremont5176
Van Buren49713
Decatur4934
Ringgold44311
Wayne41721
Audubon4158
Adams2973
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