Galloway, N.J. – Christine Padovani never thought she would have her picture on a 60-foot billboard. That’s before she became a hero. Christine, a junior at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and Lacey Township resident, was selected as the outstanding Designated Driver HERO for 2012 by the College and will have her picture displayed on a 60-foot billboard on the Atlantic City Expressway.
Thanks to Clear Channel Outdoor Advertising, Christine’s billboard will promote the HERO Campaign and designated driving by encouraging others to “Be like Christine. Be a Designated Driver.”
The HERO Campaign, established in memory by the family of Navy Ensign John Elliott of Egg Harbor Township, promotes the use of safe and sober designated drivers to prevent drunken driving tragedies. Ensign Elliott was killed in a collision with a drunken driver in July, 2000, two months after graduating with honors from the United States Naval Academy.
Christine was nominated by fellow student Amanda Sarno and selected as the top Designated HERO for serving as a designated driver for her classmates. Christine is a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority on Stockton’s campus and has made a positive impact on her sisters by being a designated driver.
This year, Christine was honored at the first annual HERO Dinner, hosted by Stockton’s Alpha Delta Fraternity and the To Be a HERO Club. During the past two years, award recipients were announced during the college’s fraternity and sorority field events. However, brothers of the Alpha Phi Delta fraternity and members of the To Be a Hero Club wanted to make the announcement a fundraising opportunity as well.
“I can honestly tell you tonight is the most moving and meaningful dinner we have been to,” Bill Elliott said. “Because you are helping us save lives.”
Elliott said the idea for the HERO Campaign came from the realization that John’s death could have been prevented if the drunk driver who hit and killed him had been given a ride home by a designated driver.
Chelsea Gallagher was the first Stockton Designated HERO in 2010 followed by David Talarico in 2011. The HERO Campaign works with other colleges around the state, including Monmouth University, Rowan University, The College of New Jersey, Rider University, William Patterson University and the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s campus and has made a positive impact on her sisters by being a designated driver.