Free New Year’s Eve Liferides will once again be available in Delta County this year. Rides are available from 8 p.m. on Monday, December 31st, through 4 a.m. on Tuesday, January 1st, and are offered in an effort to prevent alcohol-related traffic accidents and fatalities.
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Liferides program, sponsored by OSF HealthCare St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group and the Island Resort & Casino, along with many generous community sponsors. The “Liferides” program was introduced in Delta County in 1983. New Year’s Eve was chosen because of its association with celebrations involving alcohol and the number of alcohol-related traffic accidents and fatalities on that night, according to Lindsey Stearns, community relations specialist at OSF St. Francis Hospital. JN Taxi, Escanaba Taxi, Delta Taxi and the DATA Bus will be offering rides throughout Delta County. For a free Liferide, call 786-4448, 786-1122, 280-8627 or 786-1186 ext. 1.
Since the Liferides program began, Stearns said there have been no alcohol-related traffic accidents or fatalities in Delta County on New Year’s Eve, a trend she hopes will continue this year. In addition to taking advantage of the free Liferides program, she said many people plan ahead by choosing a designated driver or make plans to stay at a hotel or with friends and family rather than going out on the roads after they have been drinking.
Flyers are being distributed to local bars and restaurants with information regarding the Liferides so that phone numbers for a safe ride home are right at patrons’ finger tips. “Liferides is a program in which the whole community participates. By planning ahead and making sure people who have had too much to drink do not get behind a wheel, we can keep our highways safe and prevent tragedies,” said Debbie Wickstrom, public relations coordinator for the Island Resort & Casino.
The Liferides program is also supported this year by the Escanaba Area Credit Unions, the Community Foundation for Delta County, Edward J. Sackerson Charitable Foundation, Communities That Care & the Substance Abuse & Violence Education Council for Delta County, Heart of the North Lions Club, Baybank, GFWC Escanaba Women’s Club, and Elmer’s County Market.
Tax-deductible donations to support Liferides may be sent to OSF St. Francis Hospital at 3401 Ludington St., Escanaba. Checks should be made payable to OSF HealthCare St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group and designated for Liferides. More information about Liferides can be found at www.osfstfrancis.org/events