Op­er­a­tion Red Nose ready for its 23rd year

Lethbridge Herald - - HOMETOWN NEWS - J.W. Sch­narr LETHBRIDGE HER­ALD

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 orn@uleth.ca.

Fol­low Op­er­a­tion Red Nose on Twit­ter for up-to-date in­for­ma­tion: @ORNLeth­bridge.

Fol­low @JWSch­nar­rHer­ald on Twit­ter

Her­ald photo by J.W. Sch­narr

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.

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