Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Another New Year

We ended fifteen nights of Safe Ride Home Sudbury with a huge blizzard last night. The AWD Equinox was sidelined due to a spontaneously shattered lift gate window, so we made due with the FWD all season tired Kia Rondo. The little car was a major challenge in the deep snow until I shut off the traction control. Then it clawed its way anywhere I asked it to go. The phones were live from 8:00 PM until 3:00 AM and Sandy stuck with me the whole time as our team (among others) drove callers who thought they might not be safe behind the wheel home in their own vehicles.

Safe Ride Home Sudbury mascot Stewie

Safe Ride Home Sudbury worked every Friday and Saturday night starting November 16, 2018 through to the end of the year plus New Years Eve. The total road volunteer strength was 210 individuals, with some working one night and some working almost all, in teams of two or three. My job was to receive applications, review them, build the database and schedule, prepare work lists for each night and oversee the sign-in/team assignment function as well as the training. I also drove every night once the HQ tasks were done, gathered the stats and cash at the end of the night and generated the reports. Additionally, I prepared the media releases and executed the social media campaign. All in all, it was a busy but very rewarding time, working with great people and knowing that we were keeping some other people from getting behind the wheel when they shouldn't.

The most difficult part was helping the clientele realize that the volunteers don't give up their nights so that the general public can party. They do it because the general public will party and needs as many alternatives as possible to keep from making poor decisions.

The family ended the year on a somber note. Sandy's brother Malcolm, the epitome of exercise and healthy eating at 68, suffered a major heart attack at his home in Vancouver on December 14. After a quintuple bypass operation, they placed him on an ECMO  machine to help oxygenate his blood while his heart was not up to the task. ECMO has some risks and it appears that, in his case, it may have been the cause of a series of strokes. His kidneys were also damaged in the process. His partner Jan was with him every day and kept the family posted but he was still in ICU and in guarded condition at the end of the year.

It is hard to believe that another year has come and gone. It is also hard to believe that I have not posted here since we got back last September. We are now starting to make some serious plans to squeeze as much as we can out of 2019 before it gets relegated to the trash heap.

Happy New Year, everyone.