On October 26, 2019, Conner Guido, affectionately known as Gweedo, was leaving his homecoming dance at Tabb High School to go to a supervised after party. Conner got in the car with a classmate who was driving his parents’ high performance BMW. The classmate did not have a driver’s license, and proceeded to drive recklessly going 75 miles per hour in a school zone. Turning a curve at such a high speed, the driver lost control of the car and hit a tree. Conner was killed instantly.
Throughout Conner’s life he was a beacon of light for those around him. He served as Tabb High’s student ambassador because his bubbly and agreeable personality made new students feel instantly welcomed. His mother, Tammy Guido remembers Conner as a people person.“He was full of life and energy, and loved entertaining people. His smile alone could just light up an entire room all by itself — he didn’t even have to say anything. He was quite vibrant, and I don’t think I know anybody who didn’t like Conner” she said.
Conner’s one true love in life was soccer. His talent and passion for soccer allowed him to succeed as varsity goalkeeper in only his sophomore year. Every weekend, Conner and his family would travel to different places for Conner to play in a separate travel league. His dream in life was going to college for soccer and one day, becoming a professional player. His dream was already starting to become true as many college scouts were looking at him right before he was killed.
To honor his memory, Tammy has started the Conner Gweedo Memorial Foundation. “I needed to make sure that Conner’s death wasn’t in vain and his memory can help save other lives,” she said. The foundation collects donations that are given out in the form of an annual Gweedo scholarship award to graduating seniors. Funds are also used to educate teenage drivers, their parents and to host soccer events.
Scholarship recipients are decided based on their academics and a personal statement. This year, Tammy decided to ask students in their statement how they would affect change through a law Tammy recently championed in Virginia. It is known as House Bill 1918, or Conner’s Law and it prohibits schools from issuing a parking pass to students without a license and encourages the reform of Virginia’s driver’s education program.
Tammy has also created a platform called ifyouseesomethingsaysomething.org for people to anonymously report any dangerous, illegal or reckless actions to the police. Tammy thought that if something like this platform is available to the public, then maybe more lives would be saved. She recalled, “apparently, the night before at the homecoming football game, the driver of the car that killed my son had been doing wheelies in the parking lot and driving recklessly. There were parents and teachers and students who saw him do this and nobody reported it. Nobody spoke up. Nobody said anything.”
ifyouseesomethingsaysomething.org is completely anonymous, and allows the user to submit a photo or video and any additional information they have for a case by case review by local authorities. It is accessible across the United States, and according to Tammy, is a way for children or adults to speak up without fear of retaliation. “I went to high school,” Tammy said, “and I remember what it was like. Nobody wants to be the rat or the snitch. Nobody wants to call someone out for doing doughnuts in the parking lot. So this website takes that fear away from them. And whether it’s driving, bullying, drugs, or anything that you know in your heart of hearts is not right, you have the ability to speak up and let somebody else do the right thing with it.”
Tammy’s mission to ensure that other people’s children are safe on the road will never stop. Everyday she drives around in Conner’s car that she has had wrapped in messages about safe driving practices, ifyouseesomethingsaysomething.org, and a photo of Conner. Her love for her son motivates her to make the world safer for others.