June 10, 2015
Louisville, KY — Churchill Downs is looking for heroes – designated driver heroes that is. The world-famous racetrack and home of the Kentucky Derby is teaming up with a positive program to prevent drinking and driving by promoting the use of safe and sober designated drivers.
Churchill Downs and the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers will be looking to sign up designated drivers at the track’s new HERO tent, located on the main concourse, beginning this Saturday, June 13.
Churchill Downs is the newest partner for the HERO Campaign. The nonprofit organization has been working with law enforcement, the state highway safety office and the alcohol industry since 2012, when Governor Steve Beshear officially declared Kentucky a HERO State.
“We are proud to be the newest member of the HERO Campaign team,” said Churchill Downs President Kevin Flanery, who said the racetrack also will promote the campaign with posters and video messages on the track’s giant video screen. “We want our fans to have fun and also be safe,” which is the goal of the designated driver program.
Flanery encouraged fans to visit the HERO tent and be a part of the 100,000 HEROES pledge campaign. Those who sign up to provide safe rides for their friends and family will receive a wristband entitling them to a free soft drink at concession stands, and even a chance to win a HERO tee-shirt and tickets to future races, including the Kentucky Derby.
The non-profit HERO Campaign is named in memory of Navy Ensign John Elliott, who was killed by a drunk driver in July, 2000, two months after graduating near the top of his class at the United State Naval Academy, where he was named the Outstanding HERO Officer of his class.
Now in its 15th year, the campaign has grown from a grassroots campaign established by John’s family into a major movement in seven states and growing fast. In addition to Churchill Downs, the campaign partners with other professional sports teams and organizations including NASCAR, the NFL and Major League Baseball teams.
“We are looking forward to our partnership with Churchill Downs and all its fans,” stated Bill Eliott, HERO Campaign Chairman and Ensign Elliott’s father. “The key to preventing drunk driving is having a safe ride home, and the HERO designated drivers are truly the life of the party.”
He noted that the campaign and the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety have signed up a record 300 bars and taverns, many of them in Louisville, who also offer free soft drinks to designated drivers.
Bill Bell, acting executive director of the State Office of Highway Safety, says the HERO Campaign’s practical and positive message just makes sense. “People are responding to the HERO Campaign’s message, which isn’t against drinking, but is about being responsible when good times include alcoholic beverages,” he said.
Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer added that the HERO Campaign has made a difference already in helping reduce drinking and driving by reminding people to plan ahead and make having a designated driver be as automatic as wearing a seatbelt.
To learn more about the HERO Campaign, or to register to be a designated driver, go to www.kentuckyheroes.org.
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For more information contact:
Sara Brown, Churchill Downs
Mary Moyer, HERO Campaign
609-646-0414 Ext. 123