AMHERST, NY- This week's 2 On Your Side "Good Neighbors" are two parents in Amherst who have turned tragedy into triumph, and did something that will help protect other families for years to come.
Erin Suszynski was 13-years-old in 2012 when she was returning home from the playground at Maple East Elementary and was struck and killed crossing Maple Road at Culpepper. Erin's parents, Jerry and Mary Suszynski, immediately started fighting for a stoplight at that corner, but they were met by opposition from lawmakers.
"I don't think there's enough side traffic coming off of Culpepper on to Maple that would warrant any type of a traffic light there," said former Deputy Supervisor of Amherst, Guy Marlette, in 2012.
The Suszynskis refused to take no for an answer.
"It shouldn't take this much effort to protect our kids and our families and our communities," said Mary.
And finally officials from Erie County and the town of Amherst have paid for and installed the stoplight, along with crosswalks and road markings.
"I think that a lot of kids and a lot of families are going to be able to cross the street safely and not have to worry about having another tragedy happen, like it happened to Erin," said Mary.
In the years since her passing, Erin's parents and siblings, Melissa and Tom, and friends also pushed Albany for Erin's Law, to put crosswalks in front of every playground and athletic field.
"As it stands now, we haven't gotten far on that unfortunately," said Mary.
So the nearly $100,000 they collected at various fundraisers for Erin's Crossings is now being dispersed to local charities that meant something to Erin, including Wings Flights of Hope, the Special Olympics, and Camp Good Days.
"We have to look forward and see some good out of it," said Jerry.
Erin's parents are inviting the public to join them at the corner of Maple and Culpepper on Saturday, October 15 at 10 a.m. to officially unveil the stoplight. It's their way to say thank you to town and county officials, their family and the friends of Erin's Crossings, all those who've supported them all these years.
"Losing Erin was devastating and the pain will never go away, but her memory lives on forever and the love she had for everyone is always with us and it always will be," said Mary.