Though Chuck Hurley has only been CEO of Mothers Against Drunk Driving since Feburary 2005, he has been with MADD as a volunteer since October 1980.
Three decades of service is impressive enough, but if you think about what MADD has achieved in those 30 years, his tenure there seems even more remarkable.
"When I first heard of MADD," he says, "we were losing 30,000 people a year to drunk driving, and we've cut that by about two-thirds." He adds, "That's something.--not enough, but something."
Now, I look forward to many years of effective advocacy from newly appointed MADD CEO Kimberly Earle. But, I have to say that Chuck has raised the bar pretty high.
"I know the shoes I'm stepping into are pretty big," says Kimberly. "A lot of great work has gone into getting us where we are now."
As MADD Board of Directors Chair Chris Johnson noted, Chuck has been a part of MADD for almost its entire history, and "He will always be a part of MADD."
From his early creation of MADD's signature Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving--a model for public safety campaigns--to his most recent efforts arguing for mandated interlock use at the 0.08 level, Chuck Hurley's work defines "tireless," and our roadways are much safer because of that.
Chuck has been a great partner of DOT and our National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. He has advised us; he has urged us forward; and, at times, he has criticized us when he thought we could do more.
That commitment has been completely contagious as he has energized thousands of people in his years at MADD.
And those energized people have changed our culture. Many of you may remember the years when drunk driving was a quietly tolerated killer. Now, 30 years later and thanks to Chuck's leadership, Americans know drunk driving is completely unacceptable.
Even when I was in Congress, a lot of volunteers, inspired by Chuck, came to talk to me. And in the state legislature in Illinois, he worked with a young State Senator named Barack Obama to help make drunk driving a primary offense.
Through all of that, he has been driven toward one goal: safety.
That we have come so far in the fight to rid our roads of drunk driving is a testament to Chuck Hurley. But he remains characteristically modest:
"It's been a remarkable journey, but it's not about me. It's about all of the people who worked to take this menace out of our culture."
Chuck leaves behind quite a legacy: a nation that recognizes the dangers of drunk driving, and--more importantly--thousands of lives saved.
But he is not going quietly. Even at our farewell meeting, he made a point of reminding me about the up-and-coming technologies that are part of the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) program.
You see, when I said Chuck Hurley was tireless, I wasn't kidding. And for that I thank him.