Aleta Neville president of the Red Deer and District chapter of MADD Canada watches as Sgt. Bob Bell of the Red Deer City RCMP ties a red ribbon on the antenna of a police truck as MADD Canada kicks off its annual red ribbon campaign in Red Deer on Monday.

MADD launches annual Christmas campaign

Every day, four Canadians on average are killed by an impaired driver.

Every day, four Canadians on average are killed by an impaired driver.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) launched its annual Christmas campaign in Red Deer on Monday to help change those devastating numbers.

Partners joined MADD representatives from the Red Deer area to talk about why the 20th anniversary of Project Red Ribbon in Red Deer is so important.

Aleta Neville, president and victim services volunteer from the Red Deer and District chapter, said that Project Red Ribbon is done in memory of all those who were killed or injured as a result of impaired driving crashes.

“We do so in the hope that our efforts today will save a life, that our holiday season will be free of impaired driving tragedies and senseless death and injuries,” said Neville.

“It’s not just happening over the holidays, this is something that happens 12 months a year.”

MADD Canada, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and Allstate Insurance announced Project Red Ribbon across Canada.

Red Deer Mayor Morris Flewwelling declared this month as MADD Month, and he encouraged people to attend MADD’s annual Candlelight Vigil to be held on Saturday at St. Luke’s Anglican Church, at 4929 54th St. in Red Deer, at 7:30 p.m.

Neville, along with members of the traffic division at Red Deer city RCMP, Alberta Motor Association and MADD volunteers stood outside the Allstate Insurance office where several red ribbons were placed around the antenna of an RCMP pickup truck.

Jason Dillingham, business development agent for Allstate, said that Allstate has been involved for 25 years with MADD and its various initiatives.

“It’s a partnership we believe in because we recognize the importance of not only supporting an organization like MADD with funding, but with people, with time and with resources,” said Dillingham.

Central Albertans can show their commitment to sober driving this holiday season by tying a red ribbon to their vehicles, key chains, purses, briefcases and backpacks.

“When you put that ribbon on, it can save a life,” said Neville. “It’s a reminder.”

Neville said that the national campaign usually starts on Nov. 1, but the Red Deer and area chapter waits until after Remembrance Day in honour of those who have served or are serving in the Canadian Forces.

Red ribbon boxes will be displayed in businesses across Central Alberta. Those who wish to have a box can call the Red Deer office at 403-347-9922.

Rural communities are invited to help out as well.

“It’s about having a new attitude and not mixing drinking and driving because it is a deadly cocktail,” said Neville.

The campaign ends after the first full week of January.

MADD volunteers do help out at RCMP holiday checkstops but more are needed. Anyone who wishes to help out can do so by calling the Red Deer office.

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