July 16th, 2024

Pronghorn Athletics launches 26th installment of Operation Red Nose

By Ry Clarke - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on November 3, 2022.

Herald file photo University of Lethbridge Pronghorns athletes Matthew Vandervoort, Clayton Wong, Savanna Collison, Madeline Szabo, Marcus Menzies were part of the Operation Red Nose designated driver program in 2019. The program is back after a two-year hiatus.

Operation Red Nose is returning to Lethbridge after a two-year hiatus with its 26th year of community service.

The annual holiday drive-home campaign will begin Dec. 2 with a dedication to eliminating impaired driving during the festive season.

“Pronghorn Athletics for over 25 years has provided a service to the community to help keep people safe in our involvement in Operation Red Nose,” said Neil Langevin, executive director of Pronghorn Athletics.

Supporting the service Red Nose provides, Lethbridge Police Service offers background checks for all volunteers and is pleased to see the program returning this year.

“Last year during our Christmas check stop campaign, nearly 1,800 vehicles were stopped and police apprehended a dozen impaired drivers, issued for immediate roadside sanctions,” said Gerald Grobmeier, deputy chief for LPS. “We anticipate another busy Christmas and appreciate the efforts of Operation Red Nose organizers and volunteers.”

Individuals 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 with no fee, only asking for donations towards the Pronghorns Athletics.

“As a fifth-year athlete I have had the chance to participate in the program back before COVID,” said Xavier Crosby, volunteer and athlete with the Pronghorns track team. “It is important that these initiatives continue to provide us with ways to show how much we appreciate what Lethbridge does for us.”

Teams of volunteers pick up clients with a designated driver driving their vehicle home. This makes it easy for those unable to get home in their current condition to get home safely while not worrying about getting their vehicle the next day. With 25 teams out per night the need for volunteers can reach up to 80 people daily.

“While our Pronghorns do provide the bulk of volunteers, we are still in need for more community volunteers,” said Langevin. “I would encourage members of our community and the university to contact us to help out (orn@uleth.ca or gohorns.ca).”

Fundraising for the Pronghorns has raised more than $815,000 since operating. In 2019 the program provided 868 rides over ten nights with the help of 569 volunteers.

“I want to say how much of an impact (community) generosity has on us,” said Crosby. “Whether its new competition gear, training equipment, singlets, or travel expenses. Every donation goes a long way towards supporting Pronghorn athletics and we greatly appreciate it.”

Operating on December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 22, 23, and 31st, volunteers will be able to give rides between the hours of 9:30 p.m. and 3 a.m. by calling 403-320-4155.

“We are proud of our Pronghorn student athletes who continue to be valuable community members and are fantastic role models,” said Langevin.

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