It's the first evening for Operation Red Nose to be there for you so that you can enjoy the holiday season safely in Portage la Prairie. 

"Tonight. Operation Red Nose will be starting at 9:00 p.m. sharp till 3:00 a.m. and going into Saturday," says coordinator Lapointe. "Also from 9:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m., we will be driving every weekend until New Year's Eve. For anybody going out, if you're having a party, give us a call at 204-239-5570 and we will pick you in your car up and get you home safely."

He notes local sponsors include Tim Horton's who gives them coffee, and local sponsors of restaurants give food to keep the volunteers going, as well as Chicken Chef, Mr MIKES Steakhouse Casual, Pizza Hotline, and Boston Pizza.

"Everybody does have fun," continues Lapointe. "If you want to volunteer, you can still go to the RCMP detachment, fill out the free criminal check and then they will send it to me. I'll pick it up and then I'll call you and then I'll put you to work. The three positions of the team are the escort driver, the navigator and the DD. They use their vehicles to drive their teams around. The navigator is the one that does the paperwork and the DD, of course, is the one that drives the client's car and drives the Navigator, himself, and the people to their homes and then makes sure they get in the door safely."

Lapointe says there are about six to seven teams, which is usual for the first weekend.

"There should be no waiting times, but. If you get a busy signal, don't give up and say, 'Oh, darn it. I'm not going to call back again,' until you get through at area Code 204-239-5570," adds Lapointe.  "We will get the info of where you are, where we're taking you, what kind of car, and we will get you home safe. We don't want drinking and driving in the area, because we want to keep everybody safe this holiday season. Our motto is, 'Leave the driving to us,'" 

He says they don't cater to parties alone, but also situations in which you've had a drink and you don't want to drive.

"There's zero tolerance on the part of drinking and driving," says Lapointe. "We want you to call us. It's even to the people that had long 14-hour days there. That's not drinking, but it's an addiction of being tired, and we don't want to get you behind your wheel and get into an accident. You call us and we will even get you home safe, also."