Inside The Gates: Service members come together to eliminate risk of drunk driving

Inside The Gates: Service members come together to eliminate risk of drunk driving
Updated: May. 10, 2022 at 7:30 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Volunteer members with the Joint Base Against Drunk Driving (JBADD) at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage are on a mission to save careers while saving lives.

“We’re going out there, we’re preventing people from getting behind the wheel when they’re intoxicated,” 1st. Lt. John Sherwood with the U.S. Air Force said.

Sherwood is one of a handful of volunteers that works as a designated driver during the weekends. As a nurse with the Air Force, Sherwood is dedicated to spending his time on the clock saving lives and volunteering his weekends to help out his community.

“I’m medical, I see, you know, the effects of drunk driving firsthand,” Sherwood said. “It’s a way I can go out there and be proactive. That’s what this program, is for is to be proactive, go out there and prevent drunk driving before it starts.”

Every Friday and Saturday from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. JBADD members respond to calls from other military personnel who are needing a safe ride home.

“It’s important to be proactive because if they are behind the wheel drinking and driving, then we’ve already missed an opportunity to save a life,” Sherwood said. “We go out there and we’re proactive and we prevent it before it starts.”

On an average weekend, Sherwood said that they will respond to between eight to 15 calls. The entire program is done through volunteer work.

Service members will drive their cars, pay for their gas, and do not accept payment. It is just part of their duty, they say, of keeping each other safe.

“Every time we go pick someone up, that’s to me in my mind and I believe in everyone else that volunteers is a life saved or more than one life saved. And that to me is personally why I like doing it the most,” said Ian Flynn, PFC. for the U.S. Army and JBADD volunteer.

In addition to taking service members home, JBADD volunteers are also making sure other residents off base have a safe road to be on.

“Anchorage is our community,” Flynn said. “So, going out there and being able to pick up military members and save the military members’ lives and also potentially save some citizens lives through actions that could have been caused if we didn’t pick up the individual, that’s our goal, that’s what we want.”

Service members looking for a ride or who are interested in volunteering can visit the JBER JBADD Facebook page for details. Volunteers also encourage service members to keep their contact information on their phones, so they can have quick access to call them when needed.

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