One year ago, students were finishing their first year at Mingo Central High School; this sign was nowhere to be found. One year ago, 17-year-old Tyler Hatfield was still alive.
"Tyler's changed things a lot," said his mother, Patty Hatfield. "He showed these kids that you never take life for granted."
On the morning of May 1, 2012, Hatfield died while driving to school. The vehicle rolled over, killing Hatfield and injuring the passenger, according to deputies with the Mingo County Sheriff's Department. Hatfield was supposed to graduate this May.
"We're looking just one day to be with our children again," his mother said. "That's what we look forward to every day."
Friends and family gathered at the high school for a dedication ceremony on Thursday evening. After Hatfield's death, the school's chapter of SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) won a contest for raising awareness about seatbelt safety.
Members used a portion of their winnings to purchase a sign to memorialize Hatfield. It reads:"Seat belts save lives."
Friends said Hatfield wasn't wearing a seatbelt when he died.
"Honestly, I didn't buckle up or anything but that sign really makes me think, if I buckle up, I'm doing it for Tyler," said Kim Hensely, a friend of Hatfield.
Loved ones said they put this sign in the parking lot so every time students leave, they remember Hatfield and how to prevent this tragedy from happening again.
"It really makes anyone open their eyes and realize it could happen to any of us," Hensely said.
The ceremony was organized by SADD and the S.T.O.P Coalition of Mingo County, a non profit organization that works with our community in drug prevention and recovery.