So you had a plan... but it fell through. What now?

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Andrew Helmkamp
  • 319th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
So you had a plan last night, but it fell through.

Maybe your designated driver decided to drink. Maybe you bailed on your Wingman and now you're sitting in your car, keys in your hand, wondering if you're sober enough to make it home.

What now? You need to call Airmen Against Drunk Driving.

"AADD a confidential, free, safe ride home for anyone that goes out drinking and their plan happens to fall through," said Staff Sgt. James Madnick, the president of AADD here. "So, if they go out with a designated driver or they go out with taxi fare and maybe their designated driver has a drink or leaves them and they need a ride or have no one else to call, the only other option they have is to drive, so they can call us and someone will go out and pick them up for free."

In the first three months of this year, AADD has only received 12 calls for assistance. During that same time period, however, five base personnel were busted for driving under the influence. Officials want to reverse that trend. They would rather take more calls than see another alleged DUI here.

"AADD is 24/7," said Madnick. "You can call any time of the day or night any day of the week. So, if someone were to call at three in the afternoon you'd still be dispatched to get them. No matter what time they want to party, we'll go get them."

Along with being confidential, calling AADD is a quick, simple process. When you call 740-CARE (2273), the person who answers will ask for a name, your location and a contact number. That person will then dispatch a driver for pick-up.

Airman 1st Class Joshua Weaver has experienced this situation first-hand.

"The first time I called AADD, we originally had a designated driver who ended up drinking," said Weaver. "So, we had no choice but to stay behind and call AADD."

AADD is free, but Madnick explained it isn't a shuttle service to go bar hopping.
"Typically you'll get picked up at an establishment and taken home," he said. "It's a game ender."

Madnick has been president of AADD for about three years now, and has been involved with the program for around four years. During that time he's received dozens of calls, but one in particular stands out the most.
"There was one incident where a guy called me from literally behind the wheel of his car and said he was going to drive unless I got there," said Madnick. "I told him, 'Wait for me, I'll be there.'"

While Madnick was on his way, he received a couple more calls from the person.

Fortunately, Madnick was able to make it to the caller and drive him home safe.

"I feel like that one would have definitely driven if he hadn't called," Madnick said. "It was like he was fighting with himself internally whether or not to drive and talking to me kept him from driving."

With a free service that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, why aren't more people choosing to call AADD?

The feedback Madnick is getting is it takes too long for people to get picked up, and in sub-zero temperatures, people just don't want to wait.

One way the AADD committee is trying to combat this is to have at least two volunteers downtown each weekend.

Madnick said his one wish for the program would be a faster way to get to the bars downtown from the base, but for now people are going to have to take it upon themselves to call ahead if they want to avoid the wait.