It’s Dick and Joyce Fette Day in Rice County
Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn during a Board of Commissioners Committee of the Whole Meeting today presented a plaque honoring a Faribault couple. Dick and Joyce Fette have been very involved in MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) since their son Greg was killed at the age of 16 by a drunk driver.
The death happened on December 15, 1984 at 2nd Avenue and 20th street in Faribault. Dunn was very emotional has he recalled the tragedy. "That day is special to me because it's the first night I worked in law enforcement as a police explorer for the city of Faribault. I was the first on the scene with Officer Mike McCloud and we rolled up to the scene of a crash and we saw a lot of destruction."
Dunn reported Officer McCloud instructed him to check the Fette vehicle while he checked the other. "So I went to this white Mustang and looked in there. I see one victim. Didn't recognize him. I had to check for a pulse and here I am 17 years old, first ride along and here I am looking for a pulse."
Dunn added, "I had all the training, CPR and all that other stuff but nothing could have really prepared me for what happened. So I yelled at Mike and said 'I can't find a pulse.' So he came over and checked and said, 'yep I can't find anything either.'
Dunn's voice was breaking as he went on, "We put a blanket over him and that was my start to law enforcement."
The Rice County Sheriff recalled, "Later that shift I went with Officer McCloud and Officer Otis to the Fette family home to watch them give the death notification. As I'm sure they remember it like it was yesterday, I remember too."
Dunn read the proclamation designating December 15, 2020 Dick and Joyce Fette Day in Rice County.
Whereas, to honor Dick and Joyce Feet for 35 years of dedication and service through Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) to combat impaired driving throughout the state of Minnesota; and
Whereas, December 15, 2020 has been declared Dick and Joyce Fette Day in memory of their son, Greg Fette, a 16 year old teen driver who was killed by a drunk driver 36 years ago on December 15, 1984 in Rice County; and
Whereas, the work of the Fette family has made an incredible impact on the safety of Rice County's roadways thanks to their tireless work to help educate our community about the danger of drinking and driving; and
Whereas, a total of 27 occupants were killed after being involved in motor vehicle crashes on Rice County roadways since 2015, 10 of which were alcohol-related; and
Whereas, over 110 occupants were seriouly injured in motor vehicle crashes on Rice County roadways since 2015, over 40 of which were alcohol-related; and
Whereas, there have been over 1,400 DWI arrests in Rice County, many of which attended a MADD impact panel hosted by the Fette family here in Rice County; and
Whereas, Rice County honors and remembers the life of Greg Fette and all other victms who have been injured or killed by impaired drivers and supports and encourages everyone to remember them and pledge never to drink and drive.
Now therefore be it resolved that the Rice County Board of Commissioners does hereby proclaim the day of December 15, 2020 as:
Dick and Joyce Fette Day
in Rice County, and publicly salutes their service in making our roadways safer in the county of Rice and the state of Minnesota.
Corporal Matt Langar with the Minnesota State Patrol recorded a brief thank you on behalf of the Patrol that was played during the presentation.
He thanked the Fettes, " All of us are so thankful that you have channeled your energy and grief towards helping prevent future similar tragedies."
Joyce could not attend the presentation but son Roger Fette was there and thanked the Sheriff and Commissioners on behalf of the family for their presentation.
Fette told those in attendance, "It seems just like yesterday that I got the call from my mom at my house shortly after the notification had been done. This was all before cell phones and (current) technology obviously."
Fette's voice also was breaking while he recalled going over to his parent's house and saw them, "Extremely distraught. To think of the last 35 years of all the stuff that they've done. I have stickers on my garage door at my house. One of the early stickers probably around 1985, '86 or '87 was somethng like 39,000 people a year were killed by drunk driving in this country. Now it's around 12,000. So my Mom and Dad and thousands of other parents who've had this kind of loss, with the education have made a difference."
Fette ended, "Thank you very much. It's a great honor. My parents appreciate it. Our family appreciates it and we'll still keep the message out there."
Dunn said the first dashboard camera in a Rice County Patrol car was donated by the Fettes and was installed in his Patrol vehicle.
MORE TO EXPLORE: Breathtaking Views of Minnesota