It is always incredibly shocking to me how something so truly wonderful can come from such a tragedy. On October 28th, 2007, Mariah Daye McCarthy was killed by an underage drunk driver while walking home with friends.

Mariah's funeral program. It is one of 6 that I keep close to remind me of the importance of living.
Mariah's funeral program. It is one of 6 that I keep close to remind me of the importance of living.

To think that day is 15 years ago is staggering. I still remember with absolute clarity, Leo talking at Mariah's’ funeral with such conviction and love. I remember walking out of St. Ann's church feeling that things were different for me and for my community. To that, I remember the laser focus that Leo McCarthy had in his desire to end drunken driving. That is when Mariah’s Challenge came to be.

Mariah’s Challenge only asks two things of people.

  1. If you are an adult, don’t drink and drive.
  2. If you aren’t of legal age, don’t drink before you turn 21.

High School students who took up the challenge, and promised to themselves and everyone around them that they wouldn’t drink in high school would receive a $1000 scholarship.

The outpouring of support from our community (and others) was truly beautiful. There were fundraisers of all types, marathon teams, local half marathons, golf events and more, all to raise funds to keep Mariah's Challenge going for the youth of our community. In it's first 5 years, Mariah's challenge had given out more than 140 scholarships to youth who took up the challenge.

In that fifth year of Mariah's Challenge Leo McCarthy was awarded the Top 10 CNN Heroes of 2012. Full story can be read HERE.

Mariah's Challenge, in fifteen years, has awarded 425- $1,000 scholarships to unique individuals who accepted Mariah's Challenge in High School. The impact Mariah's Challenge has had on Butte and it's people, is beyond measure.

So that brings us to Light Up Mariah, #LightUpMariah. Friday night turn on your porch light, so that Mariah might see the Mining City from the flood of lights. Take a picture, post it on the socials with the hashtag #LightUpMariah and remember Mariah. It's also a good time to look back at those 2 easy rules if you accept Mariah's Challenge.

Here are some #LightUpMariah posts through the years, I look forward to seeing yours. Grow Old.


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