Safe Ride Home program a success
The number of passengers was down, but community participation was way, way up for this year's Safe Ride Home program, provided by Greater Valley EMS.
The organization provides this program to the Valley every year, free of charge, in an attempt to eliminate alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities on New Year's Eve.
"I'd say it's mission accomplished again this year," stated Sonya Bement, Greater Valley EMS paramedic and event coordinator. "The community support that we have received this year tells us that we must be doing something right."
Williams Auto Group provided the six vehicles used to transport participants, and several local businesses supported this year's program with a sponsorship of at least $100. Sponsors included Alliger's House of Wings, the Athens American Legion, Beeman's Restaurant, the Milltown Inn, Soprano's, Jeff Paul Plumbing and Heating, the Waverly VFW, Sayre Rotary, Tioga Downs and Valley Energy.
To keep it fun for passengers, volunteers decided to play their version of the "Cash Cab" trivia game. Passengers teamed up with their drivers to answer trivia questions provided by Safe Ride Home dispatchers. The first van with the correct answer earned prizes for all of its passengers and drivers. The prizes included gift certificates from Dandy Mini Mart, the Valley Bowling Center, Tioga Tae Kwon Do, Pizza Hut, Original Italian Grille, WJ Graphics and Mickey's Pub.
Fresh, local food was provided to keep the staff and volunteers going at full speed. Tops Friendly Markets, Ted Clark's Busy Market, Pizza Hut and the Sayre House of Hope prepared hot plates and snacks for crews to enjoy.
The company transported 190 passengers this year, about half as many as last year. Lower numbers can be attributed to a number of factors, including slick road conditions, cold and windy weather and several closed or reserved establishments in the area, said Greater Valley EMS deputy chief Derrick Hall.
In spite of the lower number of participants, the 18 staff and volunteers drove 487 miles and returned the final program participant at 3:06 a.m.
For more information about Safe Ride Home or Greater Valley EMS, contact Sonya Bement, Outreach Supervisor at (570) 888-6000, extension 228.
Submitted by Greater Valley EMS.