Being the designated driver can make you a hero, according to a New Jersey-based campaign that is making its way around Norfolk County.
Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey is speaking to licensing boards around the county about a program called "Be a Hero," which encourages liquor-serving establishments to encourage designated drivers. He was in Needham last night (which recently voted for sales of alcohol in the town).
The campaign's goal is "to register one million designated drivers and make having a designated driver be as automatic as wearing a seatbelt."
According to Morrissey, every establishment in Patriot Place in Foxborough has joined the campaign. A press release from the DA's office describes how being a hero works: Bar managers or servers will ask groups of patrons “Who is going to be the HERO tonight,” and then offer a BE A HERO wristband and a free soft drink to whoever volunteers to be the designated sober driver.
“One is too many, and we had more than one a week,” Morrissey said in a press release. “We are trying to lower those numbers, both working with those who serve alcohol and joining the Elliotts in their work targeting those who consume it.”
Bill and Muriel Elliot, who founded the Ensign John R. Elliot Human Education Resource Officer (HERO) Campaign for designated drivers, named it after their son, a graduate of the Naval Academy who was struck and killed by a drunken driver on his way home for his mother’s birthday in 2000.
The campaign name comes from an honor John received at Annapolis: he was elected by his peers as a Human Education Resource Officer, or "HERO," to mentor other cadets. He was also named the outstanding HERO in his graduating class, according to the campaign website.
Below is the full press release issued by the Norfolk County DA earlier in the month:
DA Morrissey, police chiefs launch Ensign John R. Elliott be a HERO Campaign against drunk driving in Norfolk County
Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey was joined by more than half of his county’s police chiefs at Patriot Place this morning (Nov. 2, 2012) to launch the BE A NORFOLK COUNTY HEROdesignated driver campaign with Bill and Muriel Elliott, who lost their son to a drunk driver.
The Elliotts founded the Ensign John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers in 2003 after their son was killed by a drunk driver as he headed home to celebrate his mother’s birthday in 2000. John had just graduated from the United States Naval Academy and was set to train as a naval flight officer.
The District Attorney financed an alcohol server training session this morning that drew more than 60 owners and managers from establishments across Norfolk County at the Showcase Live at Patriot Place. At the close of the training the Elliotts talked to the crowd about their son, his death, and the campaign that carries his name.
“Instead of cursing the darkness, we wanted to make a difference,” Bill Elliott said. “We want to make use of a designated driver as automatic as using a seatbelt.”
“The message we are sending to the public,” Muriel Elliott said, “is that you are a hero when you save someone’s life.”
The drunk driver who killed there son had been arrested earlier in the day and bailed out by afriend, the Elliotts said. Rather than drive him all the way home from the police station, that friend dropped him off where his vehicle had been left so that he could drive again. Less than an hour later, John was dead.
The Elliotts live in the Atlantic City, New Jersey area, and more than 150 Jersey Shore bars currently participate in the program, which has bar managers or servers asking groups of patrons “Who is going to be the HERO tonight,” then offering a BE A HERO wristband and a free soft drink to whoever volunteers to be the designated sober driver for the group. “The only cost to the establishment is to displaya poster or a sticker for the campaign and maybe to serve a free soft drink,” Mr. Elliott said. NFL stadiums, including Patriot Stadium, have also joined the program
District Attorney Morrissey said that there were more than 60 drunk driving fatalities and serious bodily injuries in Norfolk County last year. “One is too many, and we had more than one a week,” Morrissey said. “We are trying to lower those numbers, both working with those who serve alcohol and joining the Elliotts in their work targeting those who consume it.”
“Every establishment at Patriot Place that serves liquor has joined the HERO Campaign,” said District Attorney Morrissey. “This season, the Patriots set the high water mark for the number of designated drivers at their home games. There are a good number of HEROS already in Norfolk County, and we hope that this initiative will build their numbers as it decreases the number of drunk drivers.”
Businesses that participated in November 2, 2012 Alcohol Service Training:
- Halfway Café, Dedham
- Auld Sod Pub, Dedham
- Big Jim’s Liquor, Avon
- Saphire Event Group, Sharon
- Jake & Joe’s, Norwood
- Oishii, Chestnut Hill
- Concannon’s Village, Norwood
- Quincy Jade, Quincy
- CBS Scene, Foxborough
- Patriots Place Management, Foxborough
- Irish Cultural Centre, Canton
- Lakeview Pavilion, Foxborough
- Showcase Cinemas, Randolph
- Showcase Cinemas, Legacy Place
- Lewis’ Bar & Grille, Norwood
- Workmen’s Hall of Norwood, Norwood
- PHO Countryside, Quincy
- Kings, Dedham
- Olde Colonial Café, Norwood
- Tedeschi’s # 339, Squantum, North Quincy
- Red Robin, Foxborough
- Brookmeadow Country Club, Canton
- The Lodge Bar, Randolph
- Plainridge Racecourse, Plainville
- VFW Post 2017, Dedham
- Toby Keith’s, Foxborough
- Blue Fin Lounge, Foxborough
- Midway Restaurant, Dedham
- BayState Wine & Spirits, Norwood
- O’Donnell’s, Randolph