If you decide to drink this holiday season, volunteers are going to do their best to make sure you don't drive. Operation Red Nose will be in Cornwall for the first time, offering free designated driver service to citizens who don't want to get behind the wheel following an evening of celebrating with friends, family and co-workers.
Each Friday and Saturday from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., starting on November 25 until December 31, citizens can call 613-362-9099 to be picked up along with their vehicle and be driven home safely. Although the ride home is considered "free," donations are encouraged and all proceeds will go towards a children's charity.
Operation Red Nose was created in 1984 by Dr. Jean-Marie De Koninck, coach of the Laval University Swim Team, in order to raise funds for the team while providing a valuable service for impaired motorists. Since then, it has become an important public advocacy program against drunk driving. In 2010, in Ontario alone, over 4,000 volunteers drove almost 6,000 clients home with no crashes, no injuries and no fatalities.
Allstate Cornwall Agent Ray Eady says Operation Red Nose will go as far as Long Sault to the west, Glen Walter to the east, St. Andrews to the north and will cover all of Cornwall.
A safe ride home during the holiday season is often hard to come by. Eady explains Operation Red Nose is not aiming to take away clients from local taxi companies. "This is more of a supplement to cab companies. We don't care how you get home; we just want you to get there."
This program is being run by volunteers and Eady says many more are needed to make this service possible. Applications for volunteering can be picked up at Allstate at 89 Tollgate Road West, at Earthway Family Chiropractic at 812 Pitt Street and at Computer Sense at 841 Sydney Street and online at www.operationrednose.com.
Volunteers are eligible for prizes, says Eady. If 15 hours of service is achieved, volunteers will receive a certificate from the Ontario Provincial Safety Minister. Drivers must be 19 years or older but people can still volunteer at Operation Red Nose headquarters on Cornwall Centre if they are under age. Kinsmen Club of Cornwall initiated Operation Red Nose and is looking to the community for sponsorship and volunteering.
The designated driver service will accept calls from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., pick up anyone who feels unsafe to drive their vehicle and will drive them and their vehicle home. This Holiday Season, Operation Red Nose will be there to help keep the roads and the citizens of Cornwall safe.
To obtain an electronic copy of the volunteer application you can call Operation red nose at 613-362-9099 starting today.