For the eighth year, local volunteers will take calls on the SAFE Ride OTD hotline to offer sober rides home during Friday and Saturday nights of Oregon Trail Days. The pool of volunteer drivers and dispatchers will be headquartered at Monument Inn & Suites. Anyone needing a ride can walk to the hotel or call the hotline at 308-633-6397 and a driver will take them home.

Volunteers provide their own vehicle, gas and insurance to offer this service. It’s an incredible gift to the community to get people home safely during this busy weekend with so many activities that offer alcohol. Anyone who would like to volunteer to drive should be at the Monument Inn with their car, license and proof of insurance. New drivers are always welcome. The service is offered both Friday and Saturday from 10:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Drivers will take riders anywhere in the valley, but longer trips may need to be negotiated with the driver.

“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from riders, who are often out of town and used to paying for such a service,” said Lisa Betz-Marquez, who started the program in 2011, and continues to organize it with co-chair Kevin Fordyce.

Volunteers will have the SAFE Ride OTD sign on the inside window of their car, so people can identify them as part of the project. Volunteers also wear lime green shirts with black lettering that have the SAFE Ride OTD name and official Oregon Trail Days logo on them. Betz-Marquez encourages anyone needing a ride to call the hotline, and to be careful throughout the weekend. “Drunk drivers kill people when they get into the driver’s seat. There is no need for tragedy this weekend. The SAFE Ride OTD project hopes everyone will have a lot of fun and be responsible.

Call the hotline at 308-633-6397. “We encourage everyone to put the number in their phone for later use,” she said.

SAFE Ride OTD is sponsored by Dietrich Distributing, LOGOZ, Monument Inn and Suites, and Pizza Hut.

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