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NEWS | Dec. 29, 2023

JBLE soldiers help soldiers with ‘Drunk Driving Prevention Program’

By Erik Siegel 633d Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The Holiday season means gatherings, parties, and merrymaking, which also comes with festive “cups of cheer.” However, despite using spirits during spirited celebration, all those who partake must also exercise responsibility in how they get home once the party has ended.

The Fort Eustis ‘Drunk Driving Prevention Program’ is a soldier-led initiative aimed at ensuring service members who may choose to drink more than the legal limit of alcohol get home safely.

“I got involved [with the DDPP] a couple months after arriving at Fort Eustis in 2021,” said Army Sgt. Candace M. Martin, Fort Eustis DDPP president. “I thought that it sounded like a great program to support.”

The Fort Eustis DDPP program is volunteer run, with two soldiers donating their personal time each weekend. The reason for two soldiers is safety-driven as much as it is logistical: one of the volunteers may need to drive a soldier’s vehicle from wherever they are within a 50-mile radius of Fort Eustis while the other transports the soldier who placed the call for a ride.

There is no requirement for the Fort Eustis DDPP volunteers to wait for calls at a specific location. They can standby as they go on with their weekend, remaining local and staying sober themselves while the program is active, Friday and Saturday, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Martin indicated these volunteers also receive credit for volunteerism towards earning their Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal whether any phone calls for help come in or not.

“Right now, I have around 15 soldiers who applied and got added to the group but probably around five that volunteer regularly,” said Martin. “We are always…trying to get active volunteers, because sometimes the soldiers are on leave, duty, or maybe have plans already. If we don’t have the volunteers, then the program can’t run that weekend.”

Martin also said the DDPP is anonymous, as the program volunteers will never contact anyone in a soldier’s chain of command. In addition, DDPP volunteers can be available for any events or functions, like balls or organization day, provided any organizations make prior arrangements with DDPP volunteers.

"The Holiday season is a time to be merry and celebrate the new year,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Jared M. Matthews, 733d Mission Support Group command sergeant major. “However, it is always important to have a plan. The [DDPP] here on Fort Eustis is exactly the kind of grass-roots initiative that can save lives with soldiers helping soldiers. Taking care of oneself and others by making responsible choices, arranging designated drivers, or using rideshare services can truly make a difference in ensuring everyone's safety during celebrations. If part of your celebration includes alcohol, please drink responsibly."

Any service member interested in volunteering for the DDPP can visit the Army’s Volunteer Management Information System website :

Service members will need to create a VMIS profile, and search within the portal for “Drunk Driving Prevention Program,” which is where an applicant can apply. Any questions about volunteering for the DDPP can be directed to Sgt. Martin,

According to Martin, the service is available to soldiers and airman on JBLE who may need the DDPP to help them once they’ve finished celebrating, or during any other weekend throughout the year, Friday and Saturday, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., can call the DDPP at (757) 707-9789.