October 26th, 2020

Operation Red Nose is ready to get you home safely over the holidays


By Bobinec, Greg on November 19, 2019.

University of Lethbridge Pronghorns athletes Matthew Vandervoort, Clayton Wong, Savanna Collison, Madeline Szabo and Marcus Menzies will be part of the 25th annual Operation Red Nose designated driver program this holiday season. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Greg Bobinec

Lethbridge Herald

gbobinec@lethbridgeherald.com

Operation Red Nose is launching for another holiday season to help Lethbridge residents get home safely from their various festivities.

In its 25th year, Operation Red Nose is a unique program dedicated to fighting against impaired driving. During the holidays, people who have been drinking or who do not feel fit to drive can be driven home in their own vehicle by a team of Red Nose volunteers. There is no fee for the service, but donations are encouraged as they go toward funding of Pronghorn Athletics at the University of Lethbridge.

“Operation Red Nose is a free ride service, so you give us a call and we get you and your vehicle home safely. There is no charge, although we do take donations for it,” says Ken McInnes, Executive Director of Sports at University of Lethbridge. “Over the last 24 years, we have raised about $775,000 for Pronghorn Athletics and most importantly for us it is a chance to give back to the community because they give back to us, so this is one of those really tangible opportunities for student athletes.”

From business holiday parties to family gatherings, groups of Pronghorn volunteers want to make sure residents get home safe.

“The donation goes right into the program and how we do it is each team has a night that they operate and the funds that were raised that night, go right into the team’s operations,” says McInnes. “When we come and pick people up for the rides, there are two ways to do it. We can pick you up with a ride and get you home safely and you can provide a donation right there, the crew can give you a receipt for the donation. You can also call us and if you are having a business party or a party at your residence and you would like to make sure your guests get home safe, just give us a call and it’s a flat fee as part of the donation.”

Operation Red Nose is looking for about 600 volunteers to donate an evening of their time to make sure people who are drinking stay off the road and get home safe. Pronghorn Athletics provides a majority of the volunteers, but additional support is needed to keep the operation moving smoothly.

Pronghorn athletes say they enjoy the volunteer work, not only for the full night of helping out, but also the opportunity to build relationships with the community that continues to support their success.

“Volunteering with Operation Red Nose has been awesome,” says Madeline Szabo, a fourth-year track and field athlete. “It took us all by surprise that it is really fun and it brings a lot of the different athletes together, as well as it brings us together with community and I feel like it gives us visibility with community members that might not know about us and what we do. It builds that relationship while we support them and they support us.”

Operation Red Nose will run on Nov. 29 and 30, Dec. 6, 7, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, and 31, from 9:30 p.m. until 3 a.m. nightly. If you are interested in volunteering for Red Nose, contact Pronghorn Athletics at orn@uleth.ca or go to gohorns.ca to download the volunteer application form. To book a ride with Operation Red Nose on one of the provided evenings, phone 403-320-4155.

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