By Sharna Johnson
With the holidays around the corner, the Curry County Sheriff’s Office is working with local businesses to encourage designated drivers to step up for their friends.
Deputy Dean Marney said the initiative is expected to start in time for Thanksgiving and will run through January.
Kits complete with a pledge card, wrist band and a gift bag from local sponsors will be given to designated drivers at establishments where alcohol is served, he said.
Designated drivers will also be given free sodas.
Persons 21 and older can pledge to drive their friends home from the bar, Marney said.
Marney, who is organizing the effort in his personal time, said the program has been well received.
“I think it’s a great program that we’re partnering in. I’m all for it and I’m going to pick me a night to be a driver,” said Bea Martel, who works at the Elk’s Lodge.
Beyond the designated driver program, the Sheriff’s Office will be collaborating with other agencies during the holidays to conduct DWI check points and saturation patrols.
Joe Garcia of Premier Distributing Co. said his alcohol beverage company has donated hats, T-shirts and other items to the designated driver program.
Garcia, who serves as customer awareness and education coordinator for his company, said Premier Distributing already has a designated driver program and are glad to blend their resources with the sheriff’s department efforts.
“If you can just get that one person (to be a designated driver) we’re winning,” he said.
Garcia said his company distributes around 104 beverage products throughout Curry, Roosevelt and Quay counties.
Jill Chandler of Clovis said she goes out occasionally with her friends for a drink and thinks the designated driver program is a good idea.
“I generally have somebody come pick me up,” she said. “I think it would just be more convenient … That’s a great idea, that way you don’t have to find a ride.”