The SAFE Ride OTD project was instrumental in keeping alcohol related driving incidents to a minimum at the 98th Oregon Trail Days celebration held in Gering last weekend.
Project founder Lisa Betz-Marquez reported 168 rides given: 113 rides on Friday night, 55 on Saturday. She tells KNEB News the number was lower than in previous years. “The guys that managed the drivers Friday and Saturday night really felt that the concert (at Five Rocks Amphitheater) and heat had something to do with that,” says Betz-Marquez.
Co-chair Kevin Fordyce managed the team of dispatchers and 14 volunteer drivers from the SAFE Ride headquarters at Monument Inn & Suites. “This year’s volunteers were excited, energized and passionate about being an integral part of getting OTD participants home safely. Without them, this service wouldn’t be possible!”
The project welcomed new tri-chair, Brandon Fordyce for next year. Fordyce has volunteered for SAFE Ride for 4 years now. Fordyce will lend his efforts in recruitment as volunteers are sought next year. “To step in as a tri-chair is an honor. I look forward to helping this organization coordinate and communicate with local volunteers to provide safe rides home for patrons. It is a great feeling knowing we are keeping people safe during Oregon Trail Day’s celebrations.”
The SAFE Ride OTD project was created by Lisa Betz-Marquez in 2011 in an effort to ensure the safety of all residents and visitors to the community during Oregon Trail Days. The project is operated entirely by community volunteers who give their time, gas, insurance, and vehicle service to provide sober rides during the weekend festival. Since the project began, no alcohol related accidents have been reported during their weekends of service.
SAFE Ride would not be possible without the support of local law enforcement, the assistance of local media, and the following sponsors: Dietrich Distributing, LOGOZ, and Pizza Hut.