Posted: Dec 11, 2012 4:56 PM by Shannon Davis
Leo McCarthy recently returned to Butte following the CNN Heroes: All-Star Tribute in Los Angeles. McCarthy made an appearance at the Kiwanis Club luncheon on Tuesday to talk about Mariah's Challenge and his experience with CNN.
"Mariah's Challenge is Butte," McCarthy said. "It's Butte's gift to the state, and the state's gift to the United States, because if we save one youth we save a generation."
McCarthy said the stage was very crowded at the CNN Heroes: All-Star Tribute. He said he imagined all of Butte on stage with him.
McCarthy was nominated to be a CNN Hero for founding Mariah's Challenge, following the loss of his youngest daughter Mariah who was killed by a drunk driver in 2007. Since its' foundation, 150 Mariah's Challenge Scholarships have been awarded to students who say no to drugs, alcohol and drinking and driving.
On Tuesday, McCarthy shared a powerful message with the members of the Kiwanis Club. He took his cell phone from his pocket. He put his phone on speaker and played what use to be Mariah's voicemail greeting.
"Hi this is Mariah. If you just leave me a message, I'll get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks. Bye," she said.
"That's what Mariah's Challenge is to me," McCarthy said after he played the voicemail. "That you never ever have to listen to try to remember what your daughter's sounded like."
McCarthy was awarded $50,000 for being nominated one of the Top Ten CNN Heroes of 2012. McCarthy will put the money toward scholarships for Mariah's Challenge.