Getting Deltans home safe with Operation Red Nose

New Year's Eve is the service's busiest night of the year, and they could use a few more volunteers to help everyone gets home safe.

Rudy

It’s a fair question: How fun can it be to give up your Saturday night to driver drunk people home?

Turns out, pretty fun.

That’s what keeps hundreds of volunteers coming back year after year to donate their time to Operation Red Nose, including Delta MP and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities Carla Qualtrough, who along with her husband Eron Maine has volunteered for the past three years.

“We actually fell in love with it two years ago. The first year we had such a great experience and it doesn’t feel like you’re volunteering. It’s a fun night out and everybody’s in a good mood,” Qualtrough said.

The North Delta Reporter recently spent a few hours on the road with Operation Red Nose, visiting various bars, restaurants and Christmas parties in Delta. Over the course of the night one thing became clear: people in Delta recognized and appreciated the service ORN provides.

“You don’t have to explain what Operation Red Nose is anymore; People recognize the vests. It’s a real testament to the culture shift around drinking and driving. People just don’t do it the way they used to,” Qualtrough said. “The generation of 20- and 30-somethings now, they just plan not to drink and drive, and this is one of the tools they have at their disposal at this time of year.”

Delta MP Carla Qualtrough and Rudy, the Operation Red Nose mascot, bring a little Christmas cheer to a party at Beach Grove Golf Club in Tsawwassen.

Delta MP Carla Qualtrough and Rudy, the Operation Red Nose mascot, bring a little Christmas cheer to a party at Beach Grove Golf Club in Tsawwassen. Photo credit: James Smith

Operation Red Nose (ORN) was founded in Quebec in 1984 to combat impaired driving while at the same time supporting amateur sport in Canadian communities.

By simply calling the dispatch number (604-943-0460), anyone who has been drinking, or is too tired to drive, can get a team of three volunteers to drive them home – in their own vehicle – for free. The only caveat is that clients must have a vehicle to use.

ORN Delta-Richmond coordinates with other teams in Metro Vancouver, meaning they can get you anywhere in the Lower Mainland you need to go. (The one exception to this is the city Vancouver, which is covered by a different service.)

Donations or tips are greatly appreciated and all proceeds are directed to amateur sport to benefit children and youth in Delta and Richmond.

With 8 of the 9 nights completed for this season, ORN Delta-Richmond, which is organized by Delta Gymnastics, has provided over 400 rides with the help of 350 volunteers. But with New Year’s Eve, their busiest night of season, still ahead of them, the organization is still looking for a couple dozen more volunteers to help keep things moving smoothly.

“If you are celebrating, we encourage you to call us and book a ride to take you and your vehicle safely back home,” said Carlene Lewall, coordinator of ORN Delta-Richmond. “The service is open that night between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. and we recommend you call 30 to 45 minutes in advance of your desired pick-up time.

“If you don’t have a lot planned, we invite you to consider volunteering and celebrating New Year’s Eve in grand style with a fabulous dinner and start your 2017 hearing a lot of stories from revellers and receiving a lot of warm and thankful hugs.”

This year, Delta Gymnastics is offering a night of fun indoor play in the gym, plus snacks, crafts and movies, for the children of the New Year’s Eve volunteers, and when they get tired they can snuggle into their sleeping bags until their parents are finished with their shift.

A big part of the fun for the volunteers, of course, is all the people they get to meet over the course of the night.

Delta MP Carla Qualtrough takes a break with Rudy, Operation Red Nose's mascot, outside the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 61 on Ladner.

Delta MP Carla Qualtrough takes a break with Rudy, Operation Red Nose’s mascot, outside the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 61 on Ladner. Photo credit: James Smith

“People share, because of course they’ve had a couple of drinks so they’re open, and they just talk to you,” Qualtrough said. “They tell you about their families and their kids and their bosses. They’re like confessionals. It’s very fun. And exhausting. But you know, the six or seven hours that you do this, it doesn’t feel like it’s that long.”

Of course, not everyone is a chatty, friendly drunk. But surprisingly, negative experiences are rare, something Maine chalks up to the clientele who chose to use the service.

“The people you meet are self-selected, right? The people you meet have called because they want you to come and pick them up,” he said. “When you’re doing the early part of the evening, when you walk through the bars and you’re dropping off the cards, some people are happy to see you, [and] there’s a few people who clearly just want to be drinking. But once you’re called out to the house, they’re happy to see you because you’re their ride.”

“This is a very well run operation,” Qualtrough added. “It’s safe, it’s on time [and] you usually get there when people expect you to get there, so you don’t get a lot of complaints.”

To join the ORN team, visit operationrednosedelta.com/volunteer-information or call 604-943-0460. Navigators and escort drivers must be 19 years old or older, and designated drivers must be 21 or older.

 

Just Posted

Community invited to help with Downtown Surrey BIA’s fence art project

Association is hoping to change the ‘narrative’ for 135A Street with artwork

‘Kim’s Convenience’ keeps Surrey actor busy when not working as church pastor in Guildford

Award-nominated James Yi will again play shop owner at Surrey Arts Centre next winter

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in South Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Hazmat team called to Surrey recycling centre

Witness at scene said several workers reported affects including coughing, headaches and chest tightness

VIDEO: Wet weather kicks off Lower Mainland toad migration

Thousands of small western toads were making the trek from pond to woods

Langley organizers invite special guest to Gone Country

Cancer fundraising, day-long concert sold out more than a month and a half ahead of Saturday’s event

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

Serious police incident unfolding at Sts’ailes near Agassiz

Small reserve near Agassiz surrounded by police vehicles, helicopter, ERT

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

RCMP release sketch of suspect in SFU assault, appeal to witnesses who helped woman

The RCMP want to talk to two women who helped the victim after she got to the parking lot

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

Most Read