There will be no Operation Red Nose (ORN) in Langley or Surrey this year, according to an announcement from the non-profit’s national office.
The pay-by-donation service uses volunteer drivers to pick up people who have had too much to drink at holiday parties, restaurants, and pubs around Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and weekends close to the holidays.
Two volunteers are dispatched, one to take the callers home, and the other drives their car home.
But this year, that service will only be available in Burnaby, new Westminster, and the Tri-Cities area in the Lower Mainland. In the Interior, Kamloops will have a service running.
It’s been a bumpy ride for the holiday driving and drop-off program in Langley over the past few years.
From 1998 to 2016, Langley Gymnastics Foundation ran the service in Langley and Surrey. They marshalled a small army of volunteer drivers every year, along with organizing vehicle dispatch across a geographically large region.
The following two years saw no service in Langley and Surrey, as there were no other organizations able to take up the significant challenge of both organizing the event and fielding so many volunteers.
In 2019, Langley Minor Hockey Association (LMHA) took up the reins.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic scuttled the entire program nationwide in 2020, a year when most holiday gatherings indoors were banned in any event.
The Langley Advance Times has reached out to LMHA to see if the organization plans to take up the project again in 2022.
B.C. is still under a mix of restrictions on gathering sizes as the delta variant of the coronavirus has driven up the number of infections and hospitalizations since late summer.
ORN has it roots in sporting organizations; Laval University swim coach Jean-Marie De Konick was inspired by a local radio program that claimed more than 50 per cent of fatal crashes were caused by motorists who had consumed alcohol at the time.
After learning that many bar patrons didn’t want to leave their vehicle behind and take a cab home, he came up with the idea for ORN and enlisted his team of 25 swimmers to drive motorists home in their own vehicles.
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