After having to comfort the grieving families following a fatal alcohol-related News Year´s Eve traffic accident near his church last year, Sonora Four Square Church Pastor Steve Wildman developed the idea for “Operation Safe Ride.”
The small congregation of seventy is offering free rides tonight in the greater Sonora area (except to Groveland) for anyone and everyone who wants or needs one.
Associate pastor Bobbie Frye says they won´t try to preach once you´re in the car, they just want to keep people from drinking and driving.
“The idea behind this service is there will not be any judgement, there is not going to be any preaching. We could be any organization,” Frye says. “The only message we want to get across is that we want people not to drink and drive and they need to be safe.”
The idea is that of Wildman, who was trouble following the accident that killed two local teenagers. He says in the Mother Lode, there really isn´t anything else offered to get party-goers home after New Year celebrations.
“Taxi companies have tried to offer this services, but there just isn´t enough (taxis) available,” Frye says. “It´s got to be more than just getting the word out that you shouldn´t drink and drive. We have to say, ´Here´s the alternative,´” she says.
The church will have 10 to 12 volunteer drivers available from 7 p.m. tonight until 5 a.m. New Years Day. Volunteers will also be by the phones all night as well. Call 532-5724 for a ride.