BY GABRIELA AGUILERA
Thomas Walli believes his son died because of a cellphone. At the age of 23, Brandon Walli was struck and killed by a truck when he was walking across Highway 6. His father thinks he was distracted by his phone when it happened.
To make sure this never happens again, Thomas Walli partnered with Geotab to create a benefit concert to raise awareness about the dangers that come with distracted driving and walking.
The first benefit concert took place on September 23, 2018. There were approximately 250 people who attended and this year they believe there will be more than double from last year. There will also be a new scholarship opportunity, an increase in space, more delicious food options, and larger giveaway prizes.
The event coordinators, Geotab, who are also Thomas’s employer, will be giving away a scholarship for those straight out of high school who plan to go to post-secondary school to study music and arts. This is a special portion of the event as both Thomas and Brandon shared a passion for music.
The scholarship will be open for students who are graduating in 2020. The public is encouraged to donate money to the event as it will go towards the scholarship. You can donate online on the benefit’s GoFundme. Geotab will match the total amount of donations made.
Geotab and Thomas Walli both want to see this event grow in the next few years, “It is our hope that we will one day be able to launch similar events at some of our larger global offices and really help catalyze that demonstrating responsibility on both sides of the wheel,” said Geotab representative Kelly Hall. Hall also told the Halton Insider that the benefit will serve as a kick-off to Geotab’s wider Responsibility on Both Sides of the Wheel campaign.
Those attending the event will be able to listen to a free concert by two bands, one fronted by Thomas Walli and the other by Brandon’s cousin. Walli said, “I’ve been in a band for 35 years…and my son was full of talent.” He believes that “getting some good people and some good talent together and making some music” would be something his son would love to see.
There will be speeches and several activities to do such as face-painting and outdoor games which include volleyball, football, soccer, corn hole, and giant Jenga. There will also be giveaways where attendees will have a chance to win some large prizes such as a patio set.
The event will be taking place this Sunday at Bronte Heritage Waterfront Park from 1 pm to 5 pm. The public is encouraged to participate as it is free and suitable for all ages. Event-goers are encouraged to share stories and images to social media to spread the word about the benefit using #PhoneDownEyesUp and @Geotab.