OCEAN CITY, NJ (Sept. 21, 2016) – A new HERO Campaign TV commercial to be filmed at this year’s HERO Walk will feature Ocean City students along with hundreds of supporters from throughout the region. The 5K walk, which benefits the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers, will be held on Sunday, October 2, beginning at 11 a.m. at 6th Street and the Boardwalk.
Shelby Gribbin, a senior at Holy Spirit High School, will be the on-camera spokesperson for the new “Be a HERO” TV spot, which will invite drivers of all ages to “Take the HERO Pledge” and become designated drivers. The Ocean City High School girls’ soccer team will also be featured in the commercial, which will be shown on cable TV, YouTube and the HERO Campaign website.
Ocean City Schools Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Taylor has been a big supporter of the event since it began in 2010, and has encouraged faculty and students to support the event and its mission to prevent drunk driving. The girls’ soccer team, their coach Kelly Halliday, and her family have raised close to $15,000 for the HERO Walk over the past five years. Ocean City teachers, students and their families will be joining the team in this year’s event. Teams from the middle school, primary school and the high school Key Club and swim team will contribute to the $30,000 they have already raised over the past five years to help the HERO Campaign save lives.
Walkers will also be asked to add their signature to the 30,000 people who have already taken the HERO Pledge to be or use designated drivers whenever alcoholic beverages are consumed. Those taking the pledge online can also download a free digital HERO ID Card at www.herocampaign.org.
A recent Stockton University poll showed the HERO Campaign having a positive impact in its efforts to combat drunk driving. According to the poll, the HERO Campaign has influenced hundreds of motorists in Atlantic and Cape May counties to become designated drivers.
The HERO Campaign was established by the family of Navy Ensign John Elliott of Egg Harbor Township, NJ. Ensign Elliott was killed in a July, 2000 collision with a drunk driver two months after graduating from the United States Naval Academy. John was traveling from Annapolis, MD to his home at the Jersey Shore for his mother’s birthday celebration at the time of his death.
The campaign has grown from a local cause into a national movement that has been adopted by seven states from Massachusetts to Kentucky. The organization uses highway billboards, TV and radio commercials, and educational programs to promote its message, “Be a HERO. Be a Designated Driver,” in partnership with schools and colleges, law enforcement, highway safety agencies, Major League Baseball and NFL teams, NASCAR, Churchill Downs and Keeneland race courses, and bars and taverns.
Over the past decade, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and other states have seen a marked decline in DUI fatalities, due in part to the efforts of the HERO Campaign.
“We are grateful for the overwhelming support we have received over the past five years and are looking forward to another great event on October 2,” stated HERO Campaign founder and Chairman Bill Elliott.
Registration for the HERO Walk begins at 9:30 a.m. at Ocean City Recreation Center, 6th Street and the Boardwalk. Walkers can also pre-register online at www.theherowalk.org. For more information call (609) 626-3880.