The Air Mobility Command Rodeo will bring a host of visitors to McChord Field in July who are unfamiliar with the local area.

Many will want to venture outside the gate to check out all the entertainment venues the South Sound has to offer.

And Airmen Against Drunk Driving will be ready to offer its assistance when called upon.

The program recently received a huge boost, as Lakewood Ford offered to donate the use of a second van for AADD to use throughout Rodeo.

"I'm a veteran, and we have a lot of veterans who work here," said Henry Krebs, general manager at Lakewood Ford. "If I can do something for the base that's going to help them out without breaking the bank, then I'm more than happy to help."

AADD volunteers man a phone line (253-722-AADD) that Airmen can call for a ride home (within a 30-mile radius of McChord Field) when they've had too much to drink.

The program is completely confidential.

Lakewood Ford donated another van last July for the program to use, and the Pierce Military Business Alliance, McChord Officers' Spouses Club and local Air Force Association chapter teamed up to pay for the insurance for a year.

AADD officials adorned the vehicle with the program's logo and parked on base in several locations to spread the word about the program. Program volunteers have also spoken at briefings all over the base.

The extra publicity is working, according to Master Sgt. Phillip Ryan, AADD president.

The program has received a 45 percent increase in calls since it started a more active outreach to the base population, Ryan said.

Officials also changed some of the program's staffing methods so it could operate more efficiently and yet still be there for Airmen who need a ride.

"Volunteers being on call 24/7 was just not sustainable, and it wasn't needed," Ryan said. "Now we operate on four shifts during peak times."

Starting July 1, AADD will add another incentive for Airmen to call for a ride before making a bad decision. AADD will staff additional volunteers to come and not only pick up Airmen, but also have an AADD volunteer drive their car home.

"Sometimes they don't call for a ride because they don't want to leave their car overnight," Ryan said. "This change will help solve that problem."

Ryan has already added extra volunteers in anticipation of the extra surge in usage.

"The end result is a good thing," he said. "Airmen getting home safely."

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