PARAMUS, N.J. — Oct. 10, 2015 was the day life both stopped and started for Paramus native Bill DeMott.
It was the day his daughter, Keri Anne DeMott, 20, was killed by a multiple DUI offender.
It was the day his career as a sports entertainer came to an end.
It was the day DeMott found his purpose.
DeMott, formerly a pro wrestler, launched the Keri Anne DeMott foundation with his wife Lacey, daughter Casey, 24, and son Billy, 8.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 37,461 lives were lost on U.S. roads in 2016, an increase of 5.6 percent from calendar year 2015.
But the DeMott family's mission goes beyond the numbers.
"Our whole agenda as a family is to make sure our daughter does not become a statistic," said DeMott, 52, of Orlando, Fla.
"The goal is to one day end drunk and impaired driving."
DeMott graduated from Paramus High School in 1983, and went on to become a pro wrester, earning himself the title of world heavyweight champion, and more.
When he broke his neck in 2003, DeMott became a wrestling and football coach, and most recently starred on the reality series "WWE Tough Enough."
But the day he lost his daughter, a student at University of Central Florida, DeMott's life took on a new meaning.
He began partnering with law enforcement agencies in Florida, traveling to high schools throughout the state and those surrounding sharing his daughter's story.
"We're making sure we help Keri Anne DeMott change the world," DeMott told Daily Voice. "We want these kids to know they're not just part of a graduating class. They're not just a student.
I want to motivate these kids to be better and to be more.
"They're someone who can change the world, and that was Keri's message."
DeMott is hoping to bring his work back home to Paramus. His next goal is to work with the borough's police department.
"They're my guys," said DeMott, who grew up with Police Chief Kenneth Ehrenberg, Deputy Chief Rob Guidetti and Mayor Rich LaBarbiera.
"They're doing a great job with the community and it makes me want to go home and help them.
"I think it's important that I stand in front of my high school and introduce my daughter and her story. I want to motivate these kids to be better and to be more.
"It doesn't end in Florida."
PROCEEDS FROM THE KERI ANNE DEMOTT ORGANIZATION GO TOWARD SCHOLARSHIPS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT, STUDENTS, CHURCHES AND MORE.
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