Nonprofit organization Another Way Home did its best last Friday night to remember those we have lost to drunken driving and to prevent future tragedies. The intent of the show was to shine a new light on sad memories, lift the frequent doom-and-gloom vibe of hard-line anti-alcohol campaigns, and educate participants on how to drink responsibly.

It seemed as though each person had a different reason for being there. Whether participants showed up to honor Alex Baer-the young man to whom the evening was dedicated-or, like me, to remember their own friends who’ve been lost to bad decisions, all equally rallied to share dances and memories. Spencer Barnitz, lead singer and guitarist of Spencer the Gardener, put it plainly and perfectly, saying the night had been a “really good time, without being condescending.”

Reid Spencer got the crowd grooving on the dance floor at the Another Way Home benefit concert.
Paul Wellman

On the dance floor, I was told that almost half the attendees were Westmont graduates, most of whom were duly excited about Westmont grad Reid Spencer’s set. Spencer, also on the committee of Another Way Home, was a friend of Baer’s and accompanied most of his songs with thoughts about his friend. He started off the set of folk-driven grooves with a sultry rendition of David Essex’s “Rock On” followed by Dave Matthews Band’s “Two Step,” that so beautifully stated “: for life is short but sweet for certain.” The song, which encouraged seizing the day without throwing caution to the wind, was the anthem for the evening.

My date took advantage of the free breathalyzer tests, blowing an embarrassingly high blood alcohol content reading. But, in keeping with the evening’s wisdom, I’m proud to say my BAC was a zero-point-zero all night

long, rendering me completely capable of driving my intoxicated companion home. Looking around at the end of the night, with a $20 Chevron card in one hand (for signing up as a designated driver) and a swaying roommate in the other, I felt proud to be able to provide my friend with a safe way home. But maybe at the next Another Way Home event, I’ll have a drink and raise my glass to an organization that knows education and awareness shouldn’t end when school does.


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