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AADD: Saving one Airman at a time
AADD: Saving one Airman at a time
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AADD: Saving one Airman at a time

Posted 1/23/2008   Updated 1/23/2008 Email story   Print story

    


by Staff Sgt. Jennifer Arredondo
437th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office


1/23/2008 - CHARLESTON AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Every week Airmen from various squadrons on Charleston AFB volunteer to help support Airmen Against Drunk Driving in an effort to help Team Charleston members arrive home incident free.

The mission of AADD is to provide a safe, confidential ride home for DOD employees who are intoxicated and may otherwise get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

"When individuals go out they should have a plan," said Tech Sgt. Melanie Berry, 437th Aerospace-Medical Squadron, NCO in charge of Bioenvironmental Emergency Management Operations and the AADD secretary. "But if the designated driver should fall through, they have another resource available."

Senior Airman Julia Fike, 437th Operations Squadron Aviation Resource Advisor and AADD president, sees the program as a way to highlight the wingman concept.

"[The AADD program] epitomizes the wingman culture by promoting a safe, confidential ride home to our fellow Airmen," Airman Fike said.

For 2007, the program is credited with 194 saves and, according to Airman Fikes, it is the volunteers who help save these lives.

"The program is only as good as the volunteers," she said. But she also says, if a person is planning on using the service, that person might want to consider volunteering for AADD.

To help in the recruitment of volunteers, committee members are exploring an incentive program for drivers, said Sergeant Berry. One way a driver may be compensated is by receiving a gift card from the Army and Air Force Exchange after a certain amount of pick-ups.

Also, a volunteer may receive a special pass for time off after volunteering for a certain amount of hours. According to Sergeant Berry, as wing leadership looks at the incentives portion of the program, the amount of time will be decided upon.

As a volunteer since the beginning of January, one Airman realizes the importance of taking the time to help save lives.

Second Lieutenant Tiffany Heline, 437 AMDS Industrial Hygiene element chief, says she volunteers because she believes in the wingman concept.

"If there is something I can do to help, I will -- it is not a matter of if and why, it is when and where," she said.

Senior leadership also values the program for the safety of Airmen.

"When our Airmen go out with their friends on the weekend, they need to always keep in mind they are needed to come back to work on Monday. A plan should be in place if drinking is going to a part of the evening for either a designated driver or an alternate means to get home," said Chief Master Sgt. Bernice Belcer, 437th Airlift Wing command chief master sergeant. "If their plan fails and they need to call an AADD volunteer to pick them up, then they need to make that call and get a safe ride home. There should be no excuse as to why an Airman would need to get behind the wheel of a vehicle and drive after a night of drinking."

Col. John Millander, 437 AW commander, agrees.

"The AADD program is an important and vital one to our base and for our Airmen," Colonel Millander said. "Though Airmen should have a plan when they go out for the night with friends, this program gives the Airmen a safety net if their original plan falls through and they need a ride home. Airmen are the Air Force's most precious resource, and the volunteers at AADD and base leadership just want to able to offer an alternative to driving under the influence, so they are able to come back to work on Monday safe, and ready to complete the mission."

Anyone with a military identification card, and who workd on Charleston Air Force Base can call AADD for a ride home at 963-0437 on both Friday and Saturday from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Also, if an individual, in any rank, would like to volunteer, they can e-mail their name and contact information to aadd.charleston@charleston.af.mil.



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