Kristin Paris Memorial Fun Run set for Saturday

Published 9:07 pm Thursday, May 28, 2015

NHS students form group in honor of friend killed by drunk driver

NEDERLAND — Beverly Paris fiddles with two large pendants hanging against her shirt.

Her daughter’s smiling face decorates an oversized heart-shaped charm that sounds like a zipper as she runs it back and forth in small movements along a simple, but sturdy, silver chain. The second necklace is a thick, organic material with a hand-blown glass sphere weighing down the center. The sphere has a red and black rose painted inside and the initials “KRP” in white paint raised across the top.

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Beverly doesn’t move the glass pendant around as she talks. She holds it, absentmindedly adjusting her grip, as she greets a Mothers Against Drunk Driving representative at Rao’s Bakery in Nederland Wednesday night.

The woman with MADD delivers bags and boxes of items to fill the purple backpacks Beverly will give away Saturday, at a one-mile memorial run to honor her daughter, Kristin.

Kristin Raye Paris, a senior at Nederland High School, had barely turned 18 when a drunk driver slammed into her car in January. Beverly said the driver — who has an ongoing lawsuit against him for the accident — was going the wrong way on I-10 near Ford Park and hit Kristin head-on. She died the next morning from her injuries.

Beverly said Kristin was a character. The “selfie queen” and “One Direction freak” loved Buc-ee’s, old people, dogs. She was a natural blonde and learned to call her pocket on the pool table while she was in diapers. As any mother would say, “she was amazing,” but Beverly said it was her “good spirit and loving heart” that attracted such an amazing group of friends to her daughter’s side — the same friends that not even a month after Kristin’s funeral, approached Beverly and said they wanted to create something meaningful to honor their friend.

Students Against Impaired Driving — a nonprofit organization known around Nederland High School as “SAID” — will host its first event to raise awareness and funds to combat the prevalence of impaired drivers this weekend.

Kristin Raye Paris, 18.

Kristin Raye Paris, 18.

The Kristin Raye Paris 1-Mile Memorial Fun Run will begin Saturday morning at the Nederland Heritage Festival Pavilion on Boston Avenue, across from the Windmill Heritage Museum.

Darian Owen, Nederland High School junior and SAID vice president, said the 1-Mile Memorial Fun Run will not only pay tribute to Kristin but raise awareness about SAID’s goals as a nonprofit.

“We want to help out the community as much as we can and as we grow, we want to reach out to areas all around Southeast Texas,” Darian said. “Drunk driving happens every day, and we want to be there to support those that are left behind like we are with Kristin. What we went through is unexplainable. That’s why we want to help other people who experience this.”

Ashley Richie, Nederland High School senior and SAID secretary, said the student-run nonprofit wants to raise donations to establish a partnership between local bars and cab companies to help get drunk drivers off the road, to provide financial support to families impacted by drunk drivers, and to establish a scholarship at Nederland High School in Kristin’s name.

The group has been collecting donations since it became an official nonprofit organization this spring — shortly after Kelsey Banta, Nederland High School senior, founded SAID in early February.

“These kids approached me almost immediately,” Beverly said. “They’re trying to cope with this and to make sense of something that doesn’t really make sense. We feel like because she liked to help people, this would be a good way to carry on her legacy.”

Ashley said Nederland High School will honor Kristin with a marked chair and diploma at graduation, but the Memorial 1-Mile Fun Run will serve as a community tribute before the seniors walk across the stage June 4.

Beverly said the run will begin at the Nederland Heritage Festival Pavilion and head down Boston Avenue to Central Middle School on 17th Street. The runners will make a block around Central — passing the tennis courts, football stadium and band hall — before rounding back up 17th Street Street to end at the NHF Pavilion.

On-site registration times are from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, and from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. Saturday, at the Nederland Heritage Festival Pavilion, 1523 Boston Ave.

There will be an opening ceremony Saturday at 8 a.m., followed by the 1-Mile Fun Run at 8:20 a.m. Ashley said runners will be directed to a link sale on Nederland Ave. as they complete the mile.

Registration for the Kristin Raye Paris Memorial 1-Mile Fun Run is $15 for K-12 students and $25 for adults. T-shirts will be available for $15. All proceeds will benefit the mission of Students Against Impaired Driving.

To register online or to make a donation as a “virtual runner,” visit the “Kristin Raye Paris Memorial 1-Mile Fun Run” community on Facebook. For more information about SAID, visit the “Students Against Impaired Driving” Facebook page.

Twitter: @crhenderson90