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A legacy carried on through sister’s teaching

robbie and sister kimberly smile at camera
Robbie Prior and sister Kimberly Philip.

Robbie Prior was a staple in the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk community. After an auto accident in 2008 where he lost the use of his legs, he made it his mission to change his life, and spread his message about the dangers of driving while impaired.

“Rather than go back to the life he was living before, continuing to drink, he made a choice to change and have a positive impact on others,” Priors sister Kimberly Philip said.

Prior began working with the Albany County STOP-DWI program, presenting to groups, including RCS High School students in James Henry’s health education class. He encouraged students to make good choices and instilled in them the belief that they can control their choices. Sadly, in 2015, Prior was struck and killed by a wrong-way driver, an impact felt throughout the community.

Now, Prior’s sister continues his memory and legacy, presenting to students and the community about his life and his will to change and inspire.

“He was so passionate about getting his message out,” Philip said. “He lived the consequences of making this bad decision and he didn’t want anyone else to go through that. So, when he passed, I thought, ‘I need to finish this for him because, if he was still alive, he would still be doing it.’”

Philip says her brother is her hero and believes his story is important to tell. She tells the good and the bad, brings students through his first accident, how he decided to change his life, and then his second accident and how it changed her life.

“It’s really about (students) making good choices,” Philip said. “And, it’s potentially saving a life by encouraging them to make better choices like Robbie did. I think the biggest thing is that Robbie, he learned.”

Philip says it is sometimes hard to tell if she has gotten through to the high school students. But, she hopes that by telling her story, she and Prior have impacted them in some way, to think twice about poor decisions.