By Kendall Stallings
During upperclass rush, Blake McMeans, founder and president of the Blake McMeans Foundation, visited campus to warn students of the dangers of drinking and driving. After a car accident in college left him permanently disabled, he devoted his life to advocating against destructive decisions and now travels across the nation to speak to students. The Interfraternity and Intersorority Council (IFC/ISC) presented the event.
While in high school, McMeans ranked at the top of the nation’s varsity tennis players and accepted an athletic and academic scholarship to the University of Tennessee. However, his father’s unexpected death prompted him to turn to alcohol, McMeans said.
His decision to drive home one evening after drinking resulted in his near death after his car flipped three times. McMeans remained in a coma for four months, and despite having an unlikely chance of surviving, he managed to improve physically and cognitively.
He now travels across the nation telling his story and warning against drinking and driving. While at Sewanee, McMeans gave a detailed account of the life-changing accident and difficult recovery process before challenging students to make the decision to never drink and drive. He emphasized that “if I had to do it over again, I would do things a lot differently.” McMeans also stressed the importance of encouraging others to make good decisions.
The evening proved to be very successful, and McMeans garnered an excellent turnout. Various athletic teams and participants in Sewanee’s Greek Life system attended the event, in addition to a number of members from the Sewanee community.
As he wrapped up his talk, McMeans stated that his one goal in speaking “is to inspire you to make better decisions than I made and support those around you making good decisions as well.”