Volunteers with DDPP help save lives
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii - Staff Sgt. Erica Johnson, Human Resource Specialist, 8th Special Troops Battalion, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, poses next to her vehicle before her weekend volunteer service. Johnson volunteers her weekends supporting the... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii --Drunk driving and volunteering don't often go together, but through the Drunk Driving Prevention Program (DDPP) Soldiers are finding a way to give back to a cause that can help save lives.

Sgt. Erica Johnson, a Human Resources Specialist with the 8th Special Troops Battalion, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, highlighted the benefits of the DDPP to Soldiers throughout the Oahu based sustainment force, March 29. The program aims at reducing military drunken driving incidents throughout and also provides a chance for Soldiers to volunteer for a worthy cause.

According to their website, the DDPP is committed to giving a free ride home to everyone with a valid DoD identification card.

The DDPP is a 100% volunteer organization comprised of military members who are looking to give back to their community. All DDPP volunteers, whether a dispatcher or driver, provide on-call services from wherever they happen to be, home, shopping, dining, etc. during the hours of 8 p.m. through 6 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Johnson and the DDPP are actively looking for new recruits to volunteer for the program. According to Johnson, this is a great opportunity to help service members protect themselves, their careers, and the public in a responsible manner.

"I chose to get involved with the DDPP because I was searching for ways to excel in the Military," said Johnson. "I was trying to achieve my Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal and the DDPP is a great way to accomplish that."

Johnson emphasized that the program is a perfect way for service members to earn 10 hours of volunteer service each night totaling 20 hours each weekend and the pure joy of knowing that you have assisted in not only helping Soldiers, but also helping mission readiness.

For those Soldiers and family members who might be afraid of repercussions from their Command for using the service, Johnson reassures everyone that every passenger's identity is kept private.

"The sole purpose of the DDPP is to ensure the safety and well-being of service members and their families, so habitual use of the DDPP is preferred to meet this end," said Johnson. "There is neither tracking nor reporting of the DDPP user's information so there can be no repercussion from their chain of command. Their information is kept private and confidential at all times."

The DDPP is available for all who want it regardless of age. They do not check the age of the DDPP user so there is no reason not to use this free service.

When a service member calls in, the dispatcher gets information to where you are, how many people need a ride and whether the vehicle is manual or automatic. If you have a motorcycle, there are licensed motorcycle riders on call who can ride the bikes back.

"The standard operating procedure of the DDPP is to dispatch pairs of volunteers to the location of the DDPP user," said Johnson. "One volunteer drives the DDPP user's POV with the DDPP user inside. The second volunteer follows behind."

There is a liability waiver that needs to be signed when registering on-line before releasing your vehicle to a volunteer.

To utilize the DDPP, the potential user must register at https://www.ddpp.us/ and sign the liability waiver form. This registration is one-time only. After registering, the service can be used as much as needed.

For assistance on the island of Oahu, a ride can be scheduled by logging into the Drunk Driving Prevention Program-Oahu Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ddpp.oahu/ and by clicking the "CALL NOW" button which connects to a dispatcher. Or by calling 518-288-6042.