Rudy the Operation Red Nose mascot spent another holiday season reminding people about the ride service for drivers who'd had too much to drink.

Langley’s Operation Red Nose helpers bring revellers home safely

A total of 667 safe rides home were provided in Langley and Surrey by volunteers this past holiday season.

Operation Red Nose called for more volunteers to help make local roads safer on New Year’s Eve, and Good Samaritans in Langley were listening in a very big way.

“That went really, really well,” said Operation Red Nose (ORN) Langley-Surrey program coordinator Meagan Castron, about the volunteer response in the days leading up to Dec. 31, the final night of operation for the designated driving service.

“We probably got a dozen [additional] volunteers who wanted to help. The RCMP was fantastic in getting background checks done as soon as possible.”

In total, 17 driving teams consisting of three people volunteered their Dec. 31 and early morning of Jan. 1 to give party-goers rides home in their own cars.

“They did make a really big difference for sure,” Castron said. “The more teams, the more people we can pick up and the call wait time goes down.”

Castron is the event and marketing coordinator with Langley Gymnastics Foundation, which each year serves as ORN Langley-Surrey headquarters and also benefits from donations made by recipients of the program.

This was her first year taking the ORN Langley-Surrey reins and she enjoyed every moment.

“It was really eye opening,” Castron said. “It was a great opportunity to give back to the community that I grew up in. I enjoyed giving back in such a great way to get people home safe.”

One hundred per cent of the funds raised from ORN are turned over to local youth and amateur sports organizations. And while donations were gratefully accepted, even if a person’s pockets are empty, ORN elves provided a ride home.

This year’s local ORN was a big success: a total of 667 rides were provided, with 215 volunteers and $26,000 raised through donations.

As well, a total of 20,104.2 kilometres of roadway were driven by volunteers.

Castrons said since Langley and Surrey  are “chock-full” of people, it was a daunting task.

“Overall I learned a lot about all the trails and tribulations that comes from running such a big campaign, but I loved it,” Castron said.

She was at the LGF, based out of the Langley Events Centre, ensuring the program ran smoothly during nine weekend nights through late November and December. Her shifts lasted from four in the afternoon to, in some cases, six or seven the next morning.

“I didn’t regret a moment of it,” Castron said.

 

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