'Only 16: Tragedy of 2 Billys' documentary teaches teens about risks of underage drinking

MENASHA, Wis. - Char and Steve Rose of Menasha suffered tragic losses through drunk driving crashes. Now, they've created a documentary called 'Only 16: Tragedy of 2 Billys" to teach teens about the risks and lifelong consequences of underage drinking.

On Easter Sunday in 1975, an officer knocked on Char's door. He instructed the then 13-year-old's mother to call her ex-husband. Their life changed in an instant.

"At that moment that they told me my brother was gone, I was gone. You know, it just rocked my world." 

After attending a dance, 16-year-old Billy Farr got into a car with an alleged drunk driver who lost control, hit a tree, and went airborne. The Montello High School student-athlete was killed instantly.

"I couldn't believe it because he was supposed to come, and he didn't. He was going to see me on Easter, but he didn't get there," Char said with tears in her eyes.

A year later, another tragedy happened involving a 16-year-old also named Billy.

"The community, we were devastated," said Steve. "You had all these 15 to 17-year-old stunned individuals at the funeral home. We didn't know what to do. We didn't know how to cope."

Steve's basketball teammate, Billy Strassburg,was crowned Campbellsport's prom king just three weeks before getting into a high-speed crash allegedly after a night of drinking. 

"So you wonder, why did these things happen? We don't know, but all we do know is 41 years later with Billy Strassburg, 42 for Billy Farr, we have an opportunity to take the story of these two popular, vibrant, seemingly invincible, adorable, cute kids, and tell the story and hopefully save one life," he explained.

Steve and Char are the executive producers of 'Only 16: Tragedy of 2 Billys." In the documentary, loved ones of both victims visit the crash sites for the first time in four decades and share the grief they still struggle with. The Roses hope it will teach kids to make good choices.

"We're not counselors. We're encouragers. So that's what we want to do, just get out there and tell people there's a better way," said Steve.

Char added, "The last thing I said to my brother was 'I love you,' and he said, 'I love you too.' I really want to reach out to people and challenge them. What are you saying to people?"

When asked what she believed Billy would think about her efforts through the documentary, Char cried and responded, "I think he'd be proud."

The documentary's release comes ahead of homecoming season in hopes of reaching teens and their parents. It's hosted by the Voice of the Packers Wayne Larrivee. Former Packers Hall of Famer and Drug Counselor Chester Marcol is also featured.

Here's where you can watch 'Only 16: Tragedy of 2 Billys':

*Saturday, September 2nd at 10:00am on WACY-TV

*Sunday, September 3rd at 11:00pm on WACY-TV

*Monday, September 4th at 11:30am on NBC26

In addition to the documentary, the Roses will also visit classrooms to talk about overcoming their own addictions to drugs and alcohol following the deaths of their loved ones. They are currently booking speaking engagements at schools and businesses through the 'Char's Choice' website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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