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Farmington Hills, Michigan

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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
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A Catalyst for Change

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A 17-year-old Cedar Rapids teenager was found dead after being sucked away into a city storm drain by rushing currents. It took a rescue team nearly 12 hours before they found the body in 3 feet of water, about 75 yards from where he came out of a pipe. He had traveled more than a mile through the storm sewer system.

Logan and his friends were playing Frisbee on the grounds of an elementary school after an intense rain and wind storm. When the teen went to retrieve the Frisbee, he fell into a culvert that was obscured by the high waters. One of Logan’s friends tried to save him, but was also dragged into the drain and traveled more than one mile before emerging in the lake, injured but alive.

Logan’s parents contacted an attorney to represent them, but it was not to seek monetary compensation for their loss. The couple was not interested in battling the city in court in pursuit of financial damages; they wanted changes so such a tragedy did not happen to others. “They wanted to see Logan’s memory in safety features,” said their attorney. “The family’s interest was not on what we can get, but how we can save others from this.”

It didn’t take a lawsuit to send a strong message that change was crucial for the safety of the community. Last week, city officials announced that they will install a guard, fence, and warning sign at the storm sewer inlet where Logan lost his life and are looking to make safety changes at other storm sewer inlets, as well. The safety changes by the city will settle any legal claims that Logan’s parents might have made against the city. The city will also pay the family’s attorney fees.

Just like Logan’s family, we all have the power to make change possible. The Casey Feldman Foundation (CFF) is one organization that seeks to educate drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. The Keenan’s Kids Foundation is a child safety organization dedicated to informing the public about child safety hazards. KidsAndCars.org (KAC) is a nonprofit child safety organization dedicated to preventing injuries and death to children in or around motor vehicles. Organizations and charities like these were formed as a result of tragedies to precious family members. Why should it take a tragedy for us to take action? All of us can use our voice, our passion, our beliefs, and our determination to create lasting changes and make the world a safer place – on our roads, on our playground, in our schools, in our communities, and more. What can you do?

Mark Bello is the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company.