The HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers® Is Launched in Bergen County by The Bergen County Sheriff’s Office

NY Football Giants, RCA Insurance Group, Group One Investments, New York Jets, and State & Local Law Enforcement  Pledge Support of Holiday HEROES

Hackensack, NJ – November 22, 2011 — The Bergen County Sheriff’s Office and a coalition of law enforcement agencies, colleges, bar and tavern owners, and the New York Football Giants and New York Jets, kicked off a Holiday HEROES program today in partnership with a national drunk driving prevention program dedicated to the memory of Navy Ensign John R. Elliott from New Jersey.

On the steps of the Bergen County Courthouse, Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino and a host of state and local officials announced their support for the HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers®, a non-profit organization that promotes the use of sober designated drivers to prevent drunken driving tragedies nationwide. The organization was established by the family of Navy Ensign John Elliott, who was killed on July 22, 2000 in a head-on collision with a drunken driver, two months after graduating with merit from the United States Naval Academy. Ensign Elliott was driving home for his mother’s birthday at the time of his death.

“The Bergen County Sheriff’s Office is proud to join with RCA Insurance and state and local law enforcement to support the HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers,” Sheriff Michael Saudino said. “We dedicate ourselves to saving lives in John Elliott’s memory. Beginning with Thanksgiving, we ask everyone to have designated drivers when their celebrations include alcoholic beverages.”

The HERO Campaign has promoted designated driving in schools and college, bars and taverns and with highway billboards, primarily in southern New Jersey, for more than ten years. With today’s kickoff Sheriff Saudino said the HERO Campaign will now be equally well known in northern New Jersey.

Michael Maher, Vice President of Marketing for the RCA Insurance Group, said hundreds of bars and taverns throughout the region will be invited to participate by displaying HERO Campaign posters with John Elliott’s picture, and offering free soft drinks to sober designated drivers.

The New York Football Giants and New York Jets have supported the HERO Campaign for a number of years with banners and designated driver registration booths at Giants and Metlife Stadium. Giants players Bear Pascoe and former Jets player Bruce Harper also attended the ceremonies to add their support.

“Our son was named the outstanding HERO of his class at the Naval academy for his service to his fellow midshipmen,” stated his father, Bill Elliott, who founded the HERO Campaign with his wife Muriel and daughter Jennifer. “He dreamed of serving his country as a naval flight officer. Now, through the HERO Campaign, he is getting his chance. Now the Heroes are the designated drivers who save lives in our son’s memory.” Muriel reminded participants, “Be a HERO. Be a Designated Driver.”

Elliott said more than one million car decals, posters, and wristbands have been distributed throughout the region, promoting the Campaign, with the message: Be a HERO. Be a Designated Driver. More than one hundred billboards have also promoted the message, mostly in southern New Jersey. For the past ten years, NJ State Police cruisers have displayed the HERO Campaign decals on more than 800 police cruisers. He noted that, with the support of the Sheriff’s Office and the coalition represented at today’s ceremony, that the HERO Campaign will continue to grow in North Jersey.

For more information on the HERO Campaign, logon to

Other dignitaries attending Tuesday’s ceremonies included:

  • Juan Mattos, United States Marshal, District of New Jersey
  • Brian Crowell, Special-Agent-In-Charge, DEA, Newark Office
  • Michael Fedorko, Superintendant, Port Authority of NY/NJ Police Department
  • Louis Klock, Lt. Colonel, New Jersey State Police
  • Frank Provenzano, Somerset County Sheriff’s Office
  • Group One Investments
  • Deputy Director Patti Valsac, New Jersey Division of Alcohol Beverage Control
  • Representatives from the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety
  • Representatives of federal, state, county and local law enforcement
  • Bergen County Business Owners & Community Associations

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