Designated driver campaign returns to beach areas this summer

May 20, 2014

The Delaware Restaurant Association is joined again by The John R. Eilliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers to bring the “Delaware Beach HEROES” program to Delaware’s beach communities this summer.

The HERO campaign, returning for its second year in Delaware, offers education to local restaurant and bar staff about responsible alcohol service and promotes the use of designated drivers. The HERO Campaign is not anti-drinking, but instead encourages common sense and social responsibility, with the goal of preventing drunk-driving tragedies in our communities.

“We came upon the HERO Campaign because John had been named the Hero of the Year at the Naval Academy, which was an acronym standing for Human Education Resource Officer. And so we took that concept of the HERO and then we applied it to the designated driver, who could have driven home the person that ended up killing our son; someone who had been arrested by police, released to a friend who drove him back to his car, put him back behind the wheel instead of driving him home. If that person had driven him home, he would have been a hero to us. He would have saved his friend’s life and our son’s life. And that’s what we focused on, was the designated driver. That’s the key to preventing drunk-driving tragedies,” said Bill Elliott, founder of the HERO Campaign.

The DRA will host Creating Delaware Beach HEROES Through Responsible Alcohol Service Tuesday, May 20, at the Baycenter in Dewey Beach. Event attendees will receive an introduction to the campaign from Bill Elliott as well as a presentation on alcohol service from the Department of Alcohol & Tobacco Enforcement, as well as updates and reports from state and local police departments.

By participating, restaurants and bars agree to distribute HERO Campaign wristbands and free nonalcoholic beverages to anyone who identifies themselves as a designated driver. Posters and signage will designate an establishment as a participant in the HERO Campaign. Last year, more than 230 staff members from over 70 participating bars and restaurants attended the event, from Fenwick Island to Bethany, Dewey and Rehoboth beaches, and Lewes.

The campaign starts Memorial Day weekend and will run throughout the 2014 summer season. Attendance is free for participants, who will also receive individual certificates as well as certificates for the bar or restaurant they represent. Sponsors for the event include the Choosehealth DE program as well as NKS Distributors, Southern Wine & Spirits of Delaware, Standard Distributing and United Distributors.

“We are excited here in Dewey to take a proactive approach to any concerns regarding drinking and driving, under-age consumption, and service of alcohol in our incredibly fun resort/beach town. Dewey has been known for decades as a fun beach resort; we want to keep that going while working hard to make sure people have fun in a safe manner,” said Steve Montgomery, owner/operator of The Starboard Restaurant.

For more information about the HERO Campaign, go to

The Delaware Restaurant Association’s is the state trade association dedicated to promoting, protecting, and educating Delaware’s foodservice industry. Delaware’s 2,000 restaurants employ over 40,000 people with an economic impact of over $1.3 billion in annual sales. Delaware restaurants are the largest small business employer in the state and the largest component of Delaware’s tourism industry.