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 Soldiers and Airmen team up to provide free rides home, prevent DUIs
Soldiers and Airmen team up to provide free rides home, prevent DUIs
Airman 1st Class Renee Boustead sits in the Joint Base Against Drunk Driving vehicle, donated by Lithia of Anchorage, outside building 655 on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska April 15. JBADD is an activity of the Better Opportunities for Single Service Members program, or BOSS, and helps service members get home safely after drinking, at no charge and without questions. To contact JBADD, for transportation or to volunteer, call 384-7344 or 552-4663. Boustead serves in aircrew flight equipment under 3rd Operations Support Squadron with duty at the 962nd Airborne Air Control Squadron, and is the president of JBADD. Her hometown is Elk Grove, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Robert Barnett)
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Posted 4/17/2013   Updated 4/17/2013 Email story   Print story


by Air Force Staff Sgt. William Banton
JBER Public Affairs

4/17/2013 - JOINT BASE ELMENODRF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- For some service members, the difference between a memorable Saturday night out and a career changing mistake can be a free ride home.

The volunteers who support Joint Base Against Drunk Driving hope to eliminate this problem one free ride at a time.

"I think the big thing is that this program is for JBER," said Airman 1st Class Renee Boustead, JBADD president and an air crew flight equipment specialist with the 3rd Operations Support Squadron. "We gather volunteers to help each other out and to minimize, and potentially get rid of [instances of driving under the influence] on this installation.

"I know it sounds kind of corny but we are a big family and we need to be there to support each other, and I think that this program is definitely geared towards that," Boustead said.

The first incarnation of the JBADD Program started prior to joint basing at both Elmendorf Air Force Base and Fort Richardson.

"The Soldiers Against Drunk Driving Program began in 2008, and that was actually when I first got up here so I didn't know what it was until I was taking it over," said Sgt. Tim Kacillas, JBER Better Opportunity for Single Service members president.

"Essentially the Fort Richardson DUI rates were astronomical, so they worked with a lot of the local community about getting a vehicle and they set up this program for a designated driver."

Since its inception the JBER community has started to utilize the program, it has reduced the number of DUIs, and is free to service members and fully confidential.

"We aren't going to route it up your chain, ask you your rank or anything like that," Boustead said.

This year alone more than 580 volunteers have donated approximately 2,500 hours helping to save more than 540 people from driving intoxicated.

"Now that it is a joint program, there are definitely a higher number of volunteers," Boustead said. "The numbers of saves are going up also, because now that it is a combined program, we are able to advertise a lot more and get our name out there."

In order for the programs to merge, the Air Force program had to be disbanded, allowing the BOSS designated driver program to support all the service members on JBER.

The current program is funded through BOSS; prior to the merger, the Airmen Against Drunk Driving program was supported and funded 100 percent by volunteers.

"We still have that original little minivan, but now we are joint based so it took us a couple of years to really actually get these two programs to mesh well. On the Air Force side it was a private organization but on the Army side it was run by BOSS," Kacillas said.
The process of joining the two programs helped reduce the financial restraints the Air Force's volunteer-run program may have been subject to due to gas prices.

"This way we can get sponsors and we can do income-generating, so we can find ways to support the program a little bit better, rather than people having to pay out-of-pocket for gas and snacks," Kacillas said. "We fill up the vehicles that are being utilized, we pay for the fuel there and we are working on getting a sponsor for the snacks and drinks and stuff, but the Arctic Chill gives us a discount on their food."

The current program has a service member-run counsel to help implement new policies while running the program and organizing the volunteers.

"I just want everyone to know that we are here for every single rank," Boustead said. "No matter who you are, your position or anything like that, we are here to save you."

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