Rudy is the Operation Red Nose mascot.

Rudy is the Operation Red Nose mascot.

Rudy back with ‘Red Nose’

Volunteer designated-driver service in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows returns for seventh year.

Rudy is back in town and his first stop was to see his friends at Maple Ridge Towing to confirm they are ready for another season of Operation Red Nose.

Rudy is the mascot for the Operation Red Nose safe-ride-home program. The return of the red-nosed deer signifies the launch of the volunteer designated-driver service in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows for the seventh year.

Maple Ridge Towing in Albion industrial area is the headquarters for the service, which began Nov. 28-29 and continues Dec. 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, as well as New Year’s Eve.

Maple Ridge Towing owner Randy Sorley and his daughter, Dena, have been  keen supporters of the program since it was introduced to the region in 2008.

“At the time, we were approached to help with Operation Red Nose, we had been considering offering safe rides home with our trucks for people who knew they shouldn’t be driving themselves,” recalls Sorley.

“When we understood what a benefit Operation Red Nose would be to this community, we wanted to be a key partner to ensure its success.”

Dena is the volunteer director, venue manager and lead dispatcher, providing more than 300 volunteer hours each season.

She wants to hear from anyone interested in volunteering to help out because help is still needed.

“The more road teams we have each night, the better we are able to respond to the clients requesting the service,” she said.

“We need at least 10 teams a night to give us the resources to do our best job of getting to the clients quickly.”

There is a particular need for drivers – to drive the client vehicles and the road team vehicles – and navigators. These roles form the three-person volunteer road teams.

“We find that volunteers who have served on a road team typically return year after year because they find it rewarding to know they are reducing the number of unsafe drivers on the local roadways,” says Dena.