|Include SAFE Ride in your celebration plans|
|July 09, 2015 Jerry Purvis|
It’s the 94th edition of a local tradition – Oregon Trail Days. And with all the celebration, some might find themselves in need of a ride home. That’s when SAFE Ride OTD is ready to help.
Now in its fourth year, the mission of SAFE Ride OTD is to keep the public safe by offering free rides home to those who may celebrate to the point of being unable to drive safely home during the Oregon Trail Days weekend.
Gering Citizen Publisher Lisa Betz, who started the program in 2012, said SAFE Ride was created so our community doesn’t have to endure a tragedy during Gering’s biggest weekend of fun. “We started it because we love the people of our community and we love Oregon Trail Days,” she said.
The first year started small, with 16 volunteer drivers donating their vehicles, time and gas to provide about 175 rides. The service has only grown with each passing year.
Betz said volunteers are now clad in bright, lime green T-shirts that identify them as part of the project. Magnetized signs for drivers’ cars let law enforcement know who they are at checkpoints. The program also posts drivers outside key watering holes to catch people leaving. Volunteers also make an appearance in the Saturday parade to remind people about the service.
SAFE Ride OTD has received appreciation from area law enforcement for its efforts and the assistance it gives them in keeping the roads safe. Out-of-town guests who have taken advantage of the program have been particularly impressed by the service.
“It puts a good feeling in people’s hearts when they visit Gering and are cared for in this way,” said Betz. “When people express their amazement that the program is free, I hope they go home and talk about Gering in a favorable way.”
Anyone can use the service, from couples who want to enjoy a nice night together, to groups of friends or those who didn’t plan ahead. “We are here for anyone who needs a ride, no matter who they are, and there’s no judgement,” Betz said.
Rides will be offered Friday and Saturday nights between 10 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. If you might need our service, please call. We’re at (308) 633-6397. We want everyone to have a fun-filled and safe weekend as we celebrate our favorite – Oregon Trail Days.