AADD -- there when all else fails

Wednesday , July 21, 2010 - 3:19 PM

Mary Lou Gorny - Hilltop Times Editor

Thirty two lives were kept safe the weekend of April 30-May 2 due to volunteers at the Airmen Against Drunk Driving program, Senior Airman Zahira Martinez, program manager reports.

The zero retribution program gets much praise from long-term unit representative, Tech. Sgt. Robert Wiley, with the 75th Logistics Readiness Squadron. He encourages military personnel to be aware of the service and use it as a backup plan.

"Our motto is 'Always plan to succeed, never plan to fail, but if all else fails call AADD,''' said Martinez.

The two from AADD emphasize they would much rather an Airman call the service than be picked up for a DUI or face the possible risks of driving under the influence in an accident.

The guidelines do suggest that if an individual calls for pickup service more than once a night (say two different locations), more than twice a month or is not found after a call is made more than once a month -- that individual would be subject to review by AADD personnel for abusing the system. However, such subjective review would be much less punitive than those facing anyone picked up for a DUI with all of the accompanying loss of driving privileges on base, hefty fines, car insurance increases and other military consequences.

The two representatives emphasize that volunteers are always welcome for AADD service.

A group of four volunteers at the Junior Enlisted Club on April 30, settled in for the night after playing a quick round of table tennis or pool, and then a few checked into the wireless service for their personnel laptops, a couple of them carrying energy drinks or large mugs of caffeinated beverages.

Wiley said that most of the time, once the volunteers assemble it's easy to stay awake as they talk, and joke with each other.

He said his first night as a volunteer, a colonel called him to check out the service. "Col. (Patrick) Higby wanted to see how the program worked," he said.

Wiley reports the colonel, 75th Air Base Wing Commander, Col. Higby, didn't really need the service but he really liked the program and wanted to encourage everyone to use the service when it was necessary.

Both Wiley and Martinez encourage those who receive calls from friends who need a ride and can't pick them up if they themselves have been drinking and can't drive -- to remember to suggest an AADD call to their friends as well. They suggested that's another way to be a Wingman.

Again, it's better to have a designated driver, but when all else fails, remember (801) 777-1111. AADD hours are Friday through Saturday, 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., and Sunday, 9 p.m. to midnight. In general, a 35 mile radius is always honored and after that it's on the basis as volunteers can manage to find those willing to drive farther for pick ups.

Anyone on base can volunteer and on holidays those eager to help out are always appreciated. To volunteer, contact your first sergeant or call Senior Airman Zahira Martinez at (801) 775-4551.

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