Benefit to raise funds for bench |

Benefit to raise funds for bench

by Jane Stebbins

BRECKENRIDGE – In a town that’s all about having a good time, Philip Palmer is trying to raise awareness about drinking and driving.

“I’m used to the double standard,” said the Breckenridge man. “But it’s sad. Every day someone’s talking about a DUI (driving under the influence) they got. It’s just as frequent as “How is the mountain?'”

Palmer wants to raise $1,000 to place a bench at the Breckenridge skateboard park in honor of Marcus Shirley, who was killed by a drunken driver in Park County Jan. 15. Palmer said he came up with the idea at Shirley’s funeral.

“This really hit home,” Palmer said. “It’s sad because I have friends who have lost a lot of people over the years. The problem with drunk drivers is bigger than us; it’s families. It’s really opened my eyes. I just want to do my part and make this happen.”

Palmer is working with town officials to acquire and place the bench at the skateboard park; Shirley was an avid skateboarder, and was on his way home from skateboarding when he was involved in the accident.

“It wasn’t an accident,” Palmer said of DUI suspect Lee Phillips, who faces vehicular manslaughter charges. “This guy habitually drinks and drives. Here in Colorado, after one (DUI), it’s just another one, another $3,000 and another group of moms that hate you. In any other town, you’d be labeled an alcoholic. Here, you can be a raging alcoholic and no one notices.”

It will cost $1,000 to buy a bench and plaque honoring Shirley, a 20-year-old Farmer’s Korner man, Palmer said. Any remaining funds will be donated to Tipsy Taxi, the non profit organization that offers a ride home to people who might have had too much to drink.

“Maybe it’ll save a life or two,” Palmer said. “This not about not drinking at all; it’s about being responsible. That’s why all these things are there for you: Tipsy Taxi, the late-night bus service. His death raised my awareness about drinking in this town.”

The fund raiser will take place at the Gold Dredge Restaurant behind the Breckenridge Barbecue on Adams Street. It will feature entertainment and a raffle.

“I wear my heart on my sleeve,” Palmer said. “With so many people taken so young, it hurts. With the bench, all his friends can see a little bit of him every day.”

Jane Stebbins can be reached at 668-3998 ext. 228 or

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