By Sarah Pacheco, Hawaii Army Weekly, U.S. Army Garrison-HawaiiSeptember 6, 2013
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (Aug. 30, 2013) -- Another weekend is upon us, and that means folks around the island are getting ready to enjoy the beach barbecues, backyard cookouts and parties with friends.
And while weekends are meant to be a time to unwind and celebrate the final days of summer, there is no excuse to go overboard with unsafe behavior.
"Before barbecuing, heading to the beach or linking up at your favorite club, pause for a moment to make a simple plan, invite a battle buddy and designate a driver," said Col. Mark Jackson, director, Emergency Services, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, and commander, 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command.
According to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving website (www.madd.org), 9,878 people were killed and approximately 315,000 people were injured from drunken driving accidents in 2011. Of those fatalities, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 138 people were killed in drunken driving crashes over the Labor Day weekend alone.
To ensure Soldiers, here, don't become another statistic, Service Members Against Drunk Driving (SADD) is on-call to offer Soldiers, spouses and service members from all branches of the U.S. military a way to get home safely after a night of too much imbibing.
"The purpose of SADD is to give Soldiers, as well as other service members, another means to get home from a location if they have been utilizing alcohol," said Staff Sgt. Derius Outlaw, operations sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, and SADD president.
The Oahu chapter of SADD was created in March 2010, here, by a sergeant in the 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde.
And while similar Soldiers Against Drunk Driving programs can be found at other Army bases on the mainland, Sgt. Renee Outlaw, noncommissioned officer, 130th Eng. Bde., and SADD vice president, points out that the local chapter has a slight name change due to the close relationship Soldiers have with other service members also stationed on the island.
"Here in Hawaii, we have so many different branches of service so close together. We have Airmen, Marines and Sailors, and often everyone will hang out with or interact with everyone else, so we call (the program) 'service members,' rather than just 'Soldiers.' That way, we can look out for other service members, as well," explained Sgt. Outlaw.
"A good majority of times, Soldiers are hanging out with other Navy or Marine personnel," Staff Sgt. Outlaw added. "It's not just Soldiers hanging with Soldiers, or Marines hanging with Marines; it's a good mixture, in general, all of the time, so it's good to branch out to all of the services."
SADD is an all-volunteer program, with designated drivers on-call between 11 p.m.-4 a.m., Friday-Saturday and holiday weekends, should a service member find him/herself in a last-resort situation.
"(SADD) is very, very similar to the 'Arrive Alive' program that the Marines use. The only difference is that we don't notify your chain of command," Sgt. Outlaw said. "It's without repercussions, and it's completely anonymous. You just call the number, and a volunteer will go and pick you up and take you home, as long as you have a military or dependent ID.
"It's not to encourage drinking," she added, "but it's a good plan B."
Currently, SADD has two cell phones that rotate among approximately 15 volunteers, mostly from within the 130th Eng. Bde., on a weekly basis.
However, Staff Sgt. Outlaw noted they have just started a fundraising campaign so that they can purchase additional phones in the near future, which will allot for more volunteers, from all branches of service, to be available, should that late-night call come in.
"It's a continuous effort to push the SADD program through the units, so Soldiers can know more about the program," Staff Sgt. Outlaw said.
"We want to broadcast to Camp Smith, we want to broadcast to Hickam, even all the way over to K-Bay; we want to have more volunteers and make more people aware of the program," Sgt. Outlaw added.
"Service members need to know there are other ways, other means to get home, other than assuming you can probably drive after drinking alcohol," Staff Sgt. Outlaw said. "If your first-line supervisor or designated friend to bring you home isn't available, then the SADD program will be there to pick you up."
Designated drivers with the Service Members Against Drunk Driving (SADD) program are available 11 p.m.-4 a.m., Friday-Saturday and holiday weekends, to give service members and spouses a free, confidential ride back to their residence or installation should they find themselves without a designated driver after a night of too much drinking.
Call (808) 377-0549 or (808) 224-1907.
Even better, plug these numbers into your cell phone and save them to your contacts, under "SADD," so that they're just a button touch away.
To volunteer to become a SADD driver, call Sgt. Renee Outlaw at (818) 359-3825, or "like" SADD's Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pages/Service-Members-Against-Drunk-Driving-SADD/425830014157076.T/K