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Saving lives — saving careers

  • Published
  • By Jamie Haig
  • 16th Special Operations Wing
He answered the call from 21 Airmen, driving 273 miles in a three-month time frame while using his own gas. For his service Airman 1st Class Benjamin Rowe, 16th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, was named Airmen Against Drunk Driving Volunteer of the Quarter.

During the past year, Airman Rowe is credited with volunteering having put in 1,032 hours and saving 60 Airmen from driving home drunk.

“He sets an example for the younger Airmen in our shop,” said Staff Sgt. Jimmy Christensen, 16th AMXS and Airman Rowe’s supervisor. “It also encourages others to do community service on their own.”

Arriving at Hurlburt Field in November 2004, Airman Rowe was working mid-shifts and had his weekends free. He decided to help AADD and see what happened.

“It’s just something I wanted to do, and I liked doing it,” Airman Rowe said. “After awhile, you lose track of how many times you go out.”

Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, he was most likely the person to respond to the calls coming into the command post, said Sergeant Christensen.

When an Airman calls the AADD phone number, the calls are directed to the command post. The command post then contacts the AADD volunteer on duty and gives a first name, brief physical description, location for pick up and how many are in the group.

Airman Rowe, as other AADD volunteers do, then heads to the location, picks up the person who called and delivers them home safely. After drop off, he calls back to the command post to advise the drop off is complete.

“I’ve even picked up a guy who was temporarily deployed to Hurlburt,” Airman Rowe said.
The program is free and completely confidential. No last names are given to either the command post or the driver – so there’s no fear of repercussions from supervisors.

“It’s not worth throwing your career away,” said Airman Rowe. “If you don’t have a plan when you go out at night, then it’s a good program to use.”

AADD program manager, Master Sgt. Myra Casanova, 16th Mission Support Squadron, underscores Airman Rowe’s accomplishments.

“The life saving nature of his service makes him a hero,” Sergeant Casanova said. “And the potential savings in property damage and loss of combat capability makes his efforts commendable.”

In conjunction with the 16th Special Operations Wing 0-0-1-3 policy, AADD offers Airmen a chance to go out and have fun, but also to get home safely.

The 0-0-1-3 policy means zero drinks if you’re under 21 years of age – zero Driving Under the Influence – one drink per hour and three drinks per night.

“I’m here to help their careers – not hurt them,” Airman Rowe said.

For a free, confidential ride home, call AADD at 884-8844.