By Tamas Mondovics

Diego Duran is now 17 years old and will be a Senior at Lennard High School this coming school year.

To reach the final year of high school, however, was a road filled with obstacles and challenges for the young student after he was struck in the head by a stray bullet on the wake of New Year’s 2012 as he was watching fireworks at his home.

The events that followed that fateful night resulted in the launching of Bullet Free Sky a non-profit organization with one goal in mind: to educate the public and raise awareness on the dangers of Celebratory Gunfire.

Since the accident, Diego’s grades continue to improve along with his memory.

“Diego counts on great support from his school counselor through his 504 Accommodation Plan, which allows him additional time for tests and school projects,” said his mom Sandy Duran.
He plans on going to HCC to study Automotive Service Technology and Collision Repair and Refinishing. There is no doubt he has come along way.

To raise awareness and remind everyone about the dangers of the irresponsible celebration of shooting a gun up in the air, Bullet Free Sky now has an educational video to send a message to everyone regarding the dangers of Celebratory Gunfire.

The video contains facts, statistics and testimonials from victims and family members, along with a message from the HCSO, gun instructor and a dramatization of the typical practice of celebratory gunfire.

The video has been presented to Hillsborough County (Public) middle and high school students. “We hope that other counties and states embrace it as well,” Sandy said.

Link to Educational Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYAA1SW4uPQ

Link to PSA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kU8TEMjxtRM

The videos are also available on the Bullet Free Sky website, YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Bullet Free Sky also wanted to announce its latest project.

AC Squared Productions and HCSO have once again partnered to create a full-length video and PSA in Spanish.

“The video will allow our message to reach out and spread awareness amongst our Spanish communities as well,” Sandy said. “The Spanish video and PSA will be ready before the New Year of 2017.”

A new logo in Spanish has also been created, which will soon be available on the organization’s website along with the English logo for anyone to print free of cost.
Sandy emphasized that the irresponsible practice of Celebratory Gunfire takes place on the 4th of July and On New Year’s Eve more than any other holiday celebration and is a problem which affects everyone.

“We cannot rely on others to make a difference,” she said. “To see a change, we all need to take part in the solution. Education and awareness are essential in preventing Celebratory Gunfire.”

In a recent press release for this Fourth Of July’s celebrations, Bullet Free Sky stated: “It is everyone’s responsibility to take action if we want to see true results. This includes people who own guns and people who do not own guns. We are all celebrating under the same sky. It is important to acknowledge the importance of gun safety and that firearms and alcohol during a celebration can be deadly. Think of the consequences before taking action. Help stop this reckless tradition so that we can celebrate life.”

Bullet Free Sky invites everyone to do their part to prevent further tragedies and for some, the fear of celebrating the holidays with the freedom we are so proud of.

They invite the media and public to take action and prevent celebratory gunfire by taking these simple steps:

· Share the PSA and Educational Video as much as you can. News channels, please share PSA at least a week leading to the 4th of July as much as possible.

· Visit www.bulletfreesky.org and click on “get involved.” Print or copy flyers to share, display and spread the word on news papers, television, businesses, public billboards, community centers etc…

· Talk about it! Tell your family, friends and neighbors that celebrating with firearms can take lives. Educate our future generation: children and teens.

· Share our social media posts on Facebook and Twitter.

· Notify the authorities if your neighbor is shooting a gun to celebrate. Call your local police or sheriff’s office. Be sure to give them the time and exact location of the shootings. You do not have to give your personal information but you do need to give a specific location.

Again, thank you for your continued support. Your service and efforts are appreciated. Thanks to you, we are able to spread this very important message to prevent tragedies as we celebrate the upcoming 4th of July.

“What goes up must come down.” Please help spread the word and prevent Celebratory Gunfire.

For more information, please visit www.Bulletfreesky.org. Or call 813-285-3663