Operation Red Nose ready for its 23rd year
A local program aimed at getting people home safely has announced its schedule for the holiday season.
Operation Red Nose will enter its 23rd campaign in Lethbridge this year beginning on Nov. 24.
The program fights impaired driving over the holiday season by providing local residents with a team of Red Nose volunteers to take them home in their own car.
An escort driver takes the volunteers to pick up clients. A designated driver takes the clients’ vehicle with the client in it, and the navigator rides along in the clients’ vehicle and completes the paper work.
Pronghorn Athletics supplies the majority of volunteers, while these numbers are supplemented by the community.
There is no fee for this service, but donations are welcome. The donations are part of ongoing fundraising efforts by Pronghorn Athletics.
In the past 22 years, more than $690,000 has been raised in support for the Pronghorn teams. Last season, Operation Red Nose provided 1,159 rides with the help from more than 620 volunteers.
Sandy Slavin, retired Operation Red Nose co-ordinator, said the size of the city is perfect for an event such as Operation Red Nose, as it is able to draw 70 per cent of the volunteers needed from Pronghorns Athletics.
“Once people became aware of what it was all about in the community, we were getting calls that asked when we were starting up before we were even organized,” she said.
Slavin was recognized for her years of work as a primary organizer for the past 22 years and for being responsible for bringing the program to Lethbridge.
On Tuesday, during the media kickoff, she was inducted into the Operation Red Nose Hall of Fame.
Marie-Chantal Fortin, National Development Co-ordinator for Operation Red Nose, said a major reason for the success of the local program was the stability brought through the volunteer efforts of Slavin.
“She was instrumental in developing the program and giving it a really good reputation in Western Canada.”
Ken McInnes, executive director, Pronghorn Athletics and Recreation, said the event is a testimony to Slavin’s perseverance and the work by different community groups over the years.
“We’ve just built up this group of volunteers which just constantly comes out and supports it.” Slavin said the first year was very chaotic. “It was crazy,” she said. “We didn’t know what was happening. We didn’t have phones that worked until about half an hour before the service started.”
Traditionally, New Year’s Eve has been a challenge as far as finding enough drivers. In order to avoid the issue this year, the men’s basketball team will be responsible for driving that night.
Operation Red Nose will operate Nov. 24, 25, Dec. 1,2,8,9,14, 15, 16 and 31 from 9:30 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Contact Operation Red Nose at 403-3204155. For information about volunteering, Christmas party reservations, or other information, contact Pronghorn Athletics, 403-329-2681, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow Operation Red Nose on Twitter for up-to-date information: @ORNLethbridge.
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Marie-Chantal Fortin, National Development Co-ordinator for Operation Red Nose, thanks Sandy Slavin, retired Operation Red Nose co-ordinator, for more than two decades of service during the Operation Red Nose start date announcement on Tuesday.