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Don't get DUI; call AADD instead

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Amanda Currier
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
So far in 2007, Airmen Against Drunk Driving has saved 201 Airmen from potential DUI incidents, which have been know to destroy lives and careers.

AADD is an organization that offers those who have been drinking rides home on Friday and Saturday nights. The organization's motto is "Let's make this a night to remember and not one to forget."

AADD has 10 teams of people who volunteer their weekends to help keep Team McConnell members free from harm. One team works per weekend, and volunteers use their own vehicles to pick up fellow Airmen who have been drinking and don't have a safe ride home.

"AADD should be your last resort, not your first," said Staff Sgt. Ryan Moriarty, AADD president

"We're here for you; however, AADD is not designed to take the place of personal responsibility, said Senior Airman Jason Thigpen, AADD volunteer. "If you plan to drink, have a plan to get home safely. However, if your plan falls through, we're here to help."

The program is free, and there are no repercussions for using it. It also prides itself on being anonymous. The only people aware of who uses the service are the AADD dispatchers and drivers.

"AADD volunteers don't drive and tell," Airman Thigpen said. "That would defeat the purpose of the program."

To use the AADD, Airmen call a dispatcher. The dispatcher asks them for a first name, a personal description, a pick-up location and a destination. Then, a driver picks them up and takes them home.

"This is a great program because people are not always comfortable calling someone in their chain of command for a ride," said Chief Master Sgt. Todd Salzman, 22nd ARW command chief. "With AADD, people don't have to get a ride home from someone they work with, but they can still get a safe ride home."

Team McConnell Airmen can call AADD between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. The service is also available on nights before major holidays such as Independence Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas and family day associated.

"Typically, the Airmen here who have gotten in trouble for drinking and driving didn't plan to drink the night they were caught," said Lt. Col. Jeff Smith, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Safety chief. "Or, they were folks who didn't intend to drive after drinking, but for numerous reasons, felt they were OK and decided to drive. Don't make the same mistake; call AADD instead."

People who use the service should ensure they're in place and ready for pick up when AADD drivers arrive. So far this year, AADD has had 18 people call and not show up to receive their rides home, Sergeant Moriarty said.

On the nights AADD isn't available, people should call a friend, a co-worker, a first sergeant or even a commander.

"The effects a DUI can have on your family, your unit and your career should be enough to deter you from drinking and driving," Colonel Smith said. "But, if they're not, think about the risk you take of killing or injuring yourself or someone else when driving under the influence of alcohol."

People can reach AADD representatives at 759-4663, or 759-HOME.

Commanders and first sergeants can usually be contacted through the command post. People can reach the command post at 759-3100 on nights and weekends.

"If you've been drinking, you're not OK to drive," said Chief Salzman. "Help is just a phone call away."