Somerset/Hunterdon Counties HERO Campaign Team Invites Bars to Join HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers

The Somerset/Hunterdon Counties HERO Campaign Team, comprised of law enforcement agencies and community-based programs, kicked off the HEROES program last month at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater.

In the infield of the Somerset Patriots ballpark the Somerset/Hunterdon Counties HERO Campaign Team proclaimed their support for the HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers®, a non-profit organization that promotes the use of sober designated drivers to prevent drunken-driving tragedies nationwide. 

“The HERO Campaign has promoted designated driving in schools, colleges, bars and taverns, as well as through highway billboards, primarily in southern New Jersey for more than 10 years. The campaign also was recently endorsed in northern New Jersey,” said Somerset County Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano.  “With the September kick-off in Bridgewater, the HERO Campaign now will be equally well known in Central Jersey.”

The HERO Campaign was established by Bill and Muriel Elliot, parents of Navy Ensign John Elliott of Egg Harbor Township, NJ, who was killed in a head-on collision with a drunk driver weeks after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in May 2000.

In 2001, New Jersey adopted "John's Law," named in honor of Ensign Elliott, which requires police to impound cars of drunken drivers for up to 12 hours.  President George W. Bush signed a federal transportation bill in 2005 that includes grant incentives for states to adopt the Driving Under The Influence (DUI) car impoundment John's Law.

To help launch this initiative, Dianne Durland of Community First Bank presented a donation of $1,000 to HERO Campaign representative Ed Danberry. The monies raised will be used for designated-driving educational materials and advertisement.

“The Somerset/Hunterdon Counties HERO Campaign Team will be asking drinking establishments to join the HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers,” said Sheriff Provenzano.  “Hundreds of bars and taverns throughout the region will be invited to participate by displaying HERO Campaign posters with John Elliott’s picture, and offering free soft drinks to sober designated drivers.”

“Our organization takes the matter of drinking responsibly very seriously. I encourage everyone to be safe, and make sure others are as well, when consuming alcoholic beverages," said Steve Kalafer, chairman of the Somerset Patriots.

“We were honored to have been chosen as the venue to launch the Somerset/Hunterdon HERO Campaign and it is our hope that everyone in our local communities will embrace the ‘Be A Hero’ message.  We also hope that message will continue to spread beyond just Somerset and Hunterdon counties," said Bryan Iwicki, vice president of the Somerset Patriots Baseball Team.

“Laws alone can’t solve the problem. It takes people helping people,” said Bill Elliott, founder of the HERO Campaign.

“We are devoted to protecting lives in John Elliott’s memory and we want everyone to have designated drivers when their celebrations include alcoholic beverages,” said Sheriff Provenzano.

Also attending the kickoff event were Somerset County First Assistant Prosecutor Timothy Van Hise, Somerset County Chiefs of Police Association President and North Plainfield Police Chief William Parenti, Hunterdon County Sheriff Fred Brown, Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office Det. Edmund J. DeFilippis, EmPoWER Somerset Acting Executive Director Brenda Esler and Hunterdon/Somerset County Safe Communities Coalition Project Director Lesley Gabel.

For more information about the HERO Campaign, contact Lt. Steve SanAntonio of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office Administrative Unit at (908) 231-7168 or visit www.herocampaign.org