BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB)– After almost a year of recovering from a tragic car crash that police tell us involved a drunk driver, News 13’s Tess Rowland is celebrating the milestone in her recovery by hosting a local food truck competition that benefits the local community.
The #TessStrong Food Truck Fest will take place on May 21 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Carl Grey Park.
As many as 10 food trucks will be present at the event, and 10% of the proceeds will be donated to Mothers Against Drunk Driving to support local victims and provide more resources for law enforcement to combat drunk driving locally.
The event is free, and participants will use a QR code to vote for their favorite best-tasting food trucks.
Local law enforcement agencies like the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, Panama City Beach Police Department, Panama City Police Department, Lynn Haven Police Department and Florida Highway Patrol will all be present at the event alongside Bay County EMS and Bay County Fire Rescue with fun activities for the kids to do.
Participants will be handed a checklist card and once they have visited all the attractions provided by local first responders, they will be given a prize item from Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
“The whole purpose is to educate the community about the dangers of impaired driving in a fun and interactive way,” Rowland said.
In addition to fun and food for the whole family, there will be exciting raffles from local businesses, a face painter, and live music from headliners like Nate Pennington and Jack & Gin.
Also at the event, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Rowland will honor local law enforcement officers who have gone above and beyond for DUI enforcement with an award ceremony.
Rowland has undergone six surgeries since her crash and received injuries to her shoulder, arm, elbow, and knee, among other internal injuries. She is still attending both physical and occupational therapy for her injuries at this time.
Since her crash, Rowland has made an effort to share her story with local high school students at Mock DUI crash scenarios and forged efforts to create a DUI Task Force for Bay County.
“As a survivor, I am using this opportunity to become a voice for the voiceless, and those who did not survive. People need to understand that drunk driving is not an accident. Someone makes the choice to put themselves and others in danger,” she said.