Think before you drink: LVAADD saves careers, lives

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Mikaley Towle
  • 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
On most Friday and Saturday nights, bars and nightclubs in Las Vegas are filled with people packed in like sardines. With the fog of alcohol clouding their minds, some Airmen might forget about the plan they devised for when they call it a night.

Luckily for them and other Nellis Air Force Base Airmen, there's an organization that can pick them up and get them home safely. Las Vegas Airmen Against Drunk Driving is an all-volunteer program made up of Airmen from Nellis and Creech AFBs who volunteer their time to help ensure their fellow wingmen make it home safely.

"LVAADD is important because you have volunteer Airmen ensuring the safety and well-being of other Airmen, as well as members of the Las Vegas community," said Tech. Sgt. Keith Harris, LVAADD president and 99th Force Support Squadron manpower and organization analyst. "Simply put, LVAADD volunteers are an example of an active demonstration of the Air Force core values."

Although LVAADD is a no-charge service, Harris said it shouldn't be treated as a taxi service. LVAADD should not be utilized as a set plan, but as a last resort if an individual's other options fall flat.

Airmen using the service are encouraged to give back by volunteering their time during the weekends.

"LVAADD has a positive impact on the community by reducing the number of potential drunk drivers," said Harris. "Not only are volunteers saving the lives of Airmen, but they're reducing the chances of civilian injuries or deaths due to drunken driving. Furthermore, we save the careers of Airmen who may have otherwise made an unwise decision to drive while impaired."

Harris went on to add, "When it comes to executing the wingman culture, I would like to think that LVAADD is the tip of the spear. Our impact on Airmen and the Las Vegas community cannot be overstated."

This year to date, LVAADD has a total of 236 saves, or people they've prevented from getting behind the wheel while impaired.

"I decided to volunteer my time because I've been stranded down at the strip before and it's pressing trying to get out of there," said Airman 1st Class Daniel Irara, 99th Medical Support Squadron admissions and dispositions technician.

Airman 1st Class Richard Lopez, 99th Force Support Squadron Crosswinds Inn Dining Facility shift worker, also volunteers his time to LVAADD in hopes that he can help make a difference.

"Drinking and driving is a huge issue in the Air Force and I've seen people lose their careers because they wanted to drink and drive," said Lopez. "I believe I made a difference by just volunteering a couple hours because I was able to drive an Airman home and prevented a DUI or something worse."

Harris said the overall mission of LVAADD is to be the safety net so good Airmen don't make bad choices.

LVAADD runs from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. All calls are anonymous. Airmen in need should call 702-652-2233 and give the dispatcher their first name, their location and destination, cell phone number, and what they're wearing so the volunteer Airmen know who they're looking for.

Each volunteer shift consists of one dispatcher and at least four male and two female drivers or navigators. Prospective drivers need to have a current and valid driver's license and automobile insurance.

Those wishing to volunteer their time can sign up by emailing aadd22@us.af.mil.