By MADDY VITALE
A rolling reminder to always have a designated driver after drinking is coming to Sea Isle City Thursday, along with a whole fleet, in fact, of police cruisers from the resort and neighboring communities, that display messages from the HERO campaign.
The police cars with billboard-style messages, “Be a HERO. Be a Designated Driver,” will be used during traffic duty at special events, and at area schools, according to a news release from the HERO campaign.
A ceremony to kick off the HERO campaign’s “Summer of HEROES” initiative will be held at 11 a.m. at the Promenade and JFK Boulevard.
Sea Isle Mayor Leonard Desiderio and the city’s Police Chief Tom McQuillen will be joined by HERO Campaign Chairman Bill Elliott and sponsors of the signage program.
Other police department representatives partnering with the campaign from Ocean City, Lower and Middle Townships and Evesham Township will also be in attendance.
McQuillen said he is looking forward to partnering with the HERO campaign on this important initiative.
“We are extremely honored and excited about partnering up with the HERO campaign to help spread the word about the dangers of drinking and driving,” McQuillen said Monday.
Now in its 20th year, the campaign was established in memory of Navy Ensign John R. Elliott of Egg Harbor Township, Bill, and Muriel Elliott’s son, who was killed in a collision with a drunken driver in July of 2000.
It was just two months after graduating from the United States Naval Academy, where he was named the Outstanding HERO of his graduating class.
“The Elliott family has taken a personal tragedy and turned it into an opportunity to really make a difference in society,” McQuillen said. “We look forward to working closely with the Elliotts’ HERO campaign as we work toward educating the public on the dangers of drinking and driving.”
Ocean City’s Police Lt. Pat Randles, who is in charge of public information, said this of the summer campaign and what the HERO campaign stands for, “The HERO patrol vehicle is a great way to support the HERO Campaign and its life-saving message.”
Randles continued, “The OCPD was honored to be the first to partner with the Elliot family in presenting a HERO patrol vehicle. We are grateful for all who have joined us as we remind everyone of the importance of having safe and sober designated drivers.”
In addition to law enforcement, the HERO Campaign partners with bar and tavern owners, schools and colleges and professional sports teams to register thousands of designated drivers annually.
For more information on the HERO Campaign, visit, herocampaign.org.