The community to which KOPR-FM in Butte, Mont., broadcasts was devastated when they lost 14-year-old Mariah McCarthy in a hit-and-run by an underage drunk driver. At his daughter’s funeral, Leo McCarthy challenged other teens not to drink. Touched by his words, the station asked permission to help take "Mariah’s Challenge" to the community at large. The effort, known by its logo of pink angel wings, has grown into a foundation headed by Mariah’s parents. A $500 educational scholarship is given to each teen who pledges and fulfills a promise not to drink underage. To date, 7,000 students have signed up for the challenge, and tens of thousands of dollars have been raised. The station, along with its three sister stations, KBOW-AM, KGLM-FM and KANA-AM, supports all "Mariah’s Challenge" events. Mariah’s family and friends have gone on the air to talk about their commitment to prevent similar tragedies. The station created "Butte Tough" public service announcements (PSAs) to support the challenge, which target both youth and adults by asking, "Are you tough enough to say no to underage drinking? Are you tough enough to say no to drinking and driving?" Mariah’s friends and family voice the announcements. "The soul-shattering, heart-shaking PSAs have kept ‘Mariah’s Challenge’ in people’s minds. I am at a loss for words for the guys at KOPR," said McCarthy. The "Butte Tough" campaign was awarded the Montana Broadcasters Association EB Award for best public service.
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