Operation Red Nose aiming to keep streets safe
Operation Red Nose volunteers will be out for a 14th straight year this holiday season as they try to keep roads safe by preventing incidents of impaired driving.
There will be nine nights of operation during the campaign – Friday and Saturday evenings – with the first night of coverage scheduled for Nov. 26.
The program operates by having volunteers drive people home in their own vehicles after they've been out drinking. Those requesting the service must provide an insured vehicle with enough seatbelts for themselves, the volunteer Operation Red Nose driver and navigator, and any passengers they may have. The vehicle is brought to the person's home and an escort vehicle than drives away with the Red Nose volunteers.
There is no cost for the service, but donations are welcome. Since Operation Red Nose costs are covered by sponsors, 100% of the money donated will be going to youth programs in Chatham-Kent – this year, the money is going to Skate Canada, Block Parents, and Gregor's Crossing medieval education. Last year, nearly $10,000 was raised for youth programs.
In order to make it the campaign a success, hundreds of volunteers will be needed. Chair Chelle Davidson says that last year, there were about 450 volunteers who drove more than 1,600 people safely home in 740 vehicles.
"Without volunteers, we don't get our people home," says Davidson.
Potential volunteers may sign p at Purechoice Water on Queen Street, Marque Manufacturing on Merritt Avenue, North Kent Mutual in Dresden and Blackburn Radio on Keil Drive, or they may fill out a volunteer application by visiting www.operationrednose.com. Volunteers may also call 226-626-2660.
On nights of operation, Operation Red Nose may be reached at 519-351-3353.
Volunteers are needed as drivers – both of patron vehicles and escort vehicles – navigators and people to answer the phone and dispatch volunteers.