Through tragedy, a can’t-miss message

REACHING OUT — With his family larger than life on a screen behind him Brad Bigler, head coach of the Southwest Minnesota State University men’s basketball team, speaks to the Tracy Area High School student body on Friday about making good decisions in life. It was a bad decision made by a drunk driver a little more than five years ago that cost Bigler’s five-month-old son Drake his life.

Five years removed from the death of his infant son, Brad Bigler
continues to speak about the consequences of making bad decisions

By Per Peterson

Brad Bigler was given about an hour to speak to Tracy Area High School students Friday morning. The reality is, he could’ve spoken until lunchtime.
With raw emotion and attention to details — both sad and graphic — the young father of a five-month-old boy killed in a crash caused by a drunk driver grabbed the attention of the TAHS student body and stirred their emotions. Few, if any, students and adults left the gym Friday without tears in their eyes after Bigler shared the intimate story of the death of his new son, Drake.
“What I always tell administrators coming in is to be prepared — I’m not going to shy away from details,” Bigler said. “I think you want a powerful message that is maybe a little graphic so that they remember. I think our story has some pieces that can be easily remembered and learned from.”
Bigler who coaches the men’s basketball team at Southwest Minnesota State University, and his family, have become very public advocates against drunk driving. At his speeches, Bigler paints a tragic picture with his words, with photos and with videos relating to July 2012 crash that also left him and his wife Heather’s grandmother with serious injuries. Of course, Bigler will always battle emotions when sharing his family’s story, but he takes solace in the knowledge that he’s reaching young adults — some who are already driving and some who soon will be.

For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.

A SOLEMN STUDENT BODY listened as Brad Bigler spoke about the death of his five-month-old son, Drake, in 2012. Drake died as the result of injuries suffered when a drunk driver drove his truck into the SUV driven by Drake’s mother, Heather.