Tague Honors Biittig for 50 Years of Sobriety and Service to Others

Assemblyman Chris Tague (R,C-Schoharie) helped Ed Biittig, a local advocate and journalist, celebrate his 50th year of sobriety on Wednesday, Feb. 14 in the Assembly Chamber. He was presented with a proclamation before being introduced on the floor, where he received applause and congratulations from all legislators, staff and visitors.

Edward Biittig began struggling with alcoholism when he was only 13 years old. He did not get his driver's license until he was 21 but remained cautious and avoided driving after he had been drinking. After a while, friends and family did not want to pick him up so he took matters into his own hands. Over the course of six months, Ed was involved in six car accidents, including one that resulted in his three-year-old being thrown from his car seat.

In 1974, Biittig was arrested for DUI after a breathalyzer test showed he was at a .20 BAC. The limit is .08. When he appeared in court, the local justice presented Ed with two options: go to prison, or enter the rehabilitation program at St. Peter’s Hospital- he chose treatment. It took eight gruesome weeks, but Ed came out a changed man.

Once in recovery, Ed wanted to start giving back to the community that helped him sober up. He volunteered with the Choices Program in Altamont, talking to over 7,000 students in four years, visited inmates in the Schenectady County Jail and the Hope House Facilities in the Capital District and still speaks at various DUI programs and panels.

Ed attributes much of maintaining his sobriety to his work as a journalist, where he focused on northeast dirt-modified racing. He has written columns and other pieces for the Dirt Track Digest and other local newspapers. 

“Being able to support and recognize these important figures in our community is one of the best parts of this job,” said Tague. “Ed has been through so much and yet his devotion to helping others has never wavered. I have known Ed and Betty since I was a kid. They are just great people. It was a true honor to have both of them in Albany and to present Ed with this very important, special and well-deserved recognition from the New York state Assembly.”