Designated driver service provides safe rides

NANAIMO – Operation Red Nose 2013 is looking for volunteers during the Christmas season.

Operation Red Nose aims to get drivers and their passengers home safely this holiday season.

The launch event for the 18th campaign in Nanaimo was hosted at Nanaimo Golf Club Tuesday, attended by Operation Red Nose organizers and representatives from the RCMP, ICBC, the community, corporate sponsors and about 20 volunteers.

Operation Red Nose provides a safe way for people and their vehicles to get home from holiday festivities rather than risk the dangers and potentially costly consequences of drinking and driving.

The designated driver service is confidential and for anyone who does not feel they should drive home for any reason in the Nanaimo region from Lantzville to Ladysmith.

With just a phone call, Operation Red Nose volunteers will come out with a car and a designated driver, pick up vehicle owners, their passengers and vehicles and drive everyone and their vehicles home safely.

The service is provided for donations, which support PacificSport programs to help local athletes, youth leadership programs and children’s sport camps.

Donations also finance the Don Long Memorial Bursary given annually to one PacificSport student/athlete for outstanding volunteer efforts, dedication to their chosen sport, performance in that sport and commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

Don Allan, program coordinator, said last year the designated driver program got 1,600 people in Nanaimo home safely and raised nearly $15,000. He hopes to see at least $20,000 raised from this year’s program, but it will take a lot of volunteers to fill the demands for rides.

“Right now we’re sitting at about 80 volunteers and we’d like to double that in the next couple of weeks,” Allan said. “We’d like to have 160. The more we have the smoother the program runs and it’s a little easier on everybody.”

Corporate sponsors, such as Budget Car and Truck Rentals, Columbia Fuels, Tom Harris Cellular and Van Houtte and others provide vehicles, fuel, coffee, communications and some of the Red Nose volunteers.

This year’s service is available 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., beginning Nov. 29-30 and Dec. 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, 27-28 and Dec. 31.

To book a ride, please call 250-755-6969.

For more information or to volunteer, please call Allan at 250-740-6572 or e-mail

People can also learn more about Operation Red Nose by visiting the program website at and about PacificSport by visiting