About HERO Campaign

The HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers®, seeks to end drunk driving tragedies nationwide by promoting the use of safe and sober designated drivers. Our goal is simple: to register one million designated drivers and make having a designated driver be as automatic as wearing a seatbelt.

The HERO Campaign is a federally registered, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that partners with law enforcement agencies, schools and colleges, bars, taverns and restaurants,  the U.S. Navy, professional sports teams, state divisions of highway safety and community chapters across the country.

In 2000 John Elliott, a Graduate of the Naval Academy, was struck and killed by a drunk driver on his way home for his mother’s birthday. The driver had been arrested on DUI charges and released only to get back in the car drunk, killing himself and John.

HERO – Origin of the name: John distinguished himself as a Human Education Resource Officer (HERO) at the Naval Academy. HERO’s are elected by their peers to counsel and mentor other members of their company. John was selected as the outstanding HERO in his graduating class.

The work of the HERO Campaign is made possible by corporate gifts, Federal and State Grants and through private donations from individuals dedicated to saving lives by being and using designated drivers.  To donate to the HERO Campaign, click here.  Learn how the funds we raise are used.

Who is John R. Elliott?

John R. Elliott

November 17, 1977 – July 22, 2000
Ensign John R. Elliott
U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2000.
Named HERO of the Year.
Killed by a drunken driver.



The Heart of a Hero Inspires the HERO Campaign

Early on the morning of July 22, 2000 John Elliott was on his way home to New Jersey from Annapolis, Maryland for his mother’s birthday when he was killed in head-on collision with a drunk driver. The other driver had been arrested earlier in the evening on DUI charges and was then released to a friend. This friend allowed the intoxicated driver to get back behind the wheel of his SUV.

He resumed driving, struck John’s car, and killed them both. John had just recently graduated with merit from the Naval Academy with a B.S. in Systems Engineering and was named the Outstanding HERO (Human Education Resource Officer) of his class for his service to his fellow midshipmen. As a HERO, John was a peer counselor and advocate for his classmates, helping them with academic and personal problems.

In memory of their son John, the Elliott family established the John R. Elliott Foundation and the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers® in October 2000.