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Operation Red Nose revved up
Had a few too many eggnogs at the annual Christmas party?
Kamloops’ dedicated squad of volunteer drivers is once again preparing to help you get home.
The Operation Red Nose program is back for another year and will run from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights from Nov. 30 to Dec. 29, as well as on New Year’s Eve.
The program aims to reduce drinking and driving over the holiday season, while raising money for athlete development in the region.
Motorists can call the Operation Red Nose headquarters at 250-372-5110 and request a team of volunteers to drive them and their vehicles home.
Program co-ordinator Katie Klassen said she’s now accepting applications for volunteers, who will provide upwards of 1,000 rides in Kamloops this year — one of the highest totals in B.C.
Of the 12 communities that participated in the program last year, Klassen said only Surrey and Langley, which run a joint program, had more rides.
Donations received during the campaign will go to PacificSport Interior B.C., which provides travel and training support to athletes and coaches in the region.
Last year’s Operation Red Nose raised $20,000 for the organization.
Typically, about 200 people volunteer as drivers, navigators and escort drivers (those who follow volunteers as they drive vehicles to their homes) during the campaign, with many committing to multiple nights of driving.
“They drive countless kilometres, pick up some interesting people and come in at 3 a.m. with a smile on their face,” said Klassen.
All volunteers receive training before their shift and must pass a background check.
The program will continue to accept volunteers right up to New Year’s Eve.
At the program’s official launch at Desert Gardens Community Centre on Wednesday, Nov. 7, Kamloops RCMP Const. George Buttuls praised the program for raising awareness about the hazards of drinking and driving.
“The RCMP’s perspective on drinking and driving is that it’s an ongoing fight and it can’t be done alone,” he said.
“There’s been a lot of lives affected by drinking and driving and Operation Red Nose goes a long way to giving us a hand.”