VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
It’s late Saturday evening. While some Team V members are enjoying various activities throughout the Central Coast, one Airman patiently awaits a phone call.
For Senior Airman Lanimarie Baclian, Airmen Against Drunk Driving volunteer, it’s a call she’s always happy to answer.
“I've been a volunteer driver since February,” said Baclian, 614th Air Operations Center Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance target development analyst. “I recently became an AADD squadron representative in June. I'm the point of contact for my squadron when it comes to AADD events. I recruit volunteers from my squadron, and coordinate my hours with the driving coordinator. I enjoy being part of an organization whose sole function is to look out for and help other people.”
Baclian has worked 27 shifts, totaling 162 hours. During that time, she has picked up members of Team V all over the Central Coast and sometimes on base during official functions. What started as a favor to a friend, became a much more important cause.
“I initially started volunteering as a driver because my friend was recruiting volunteers and not a lot of people were volunteering, so I decided to step up,” said Baclian. “However, the more active I was, the more important it became to me. While there are other options Airmen can utilize, AADD gives people a safe, reliable, and anonymous option if someone were to find themselves stranded.”
Driving while intoxicated can have extreme repercussions, not only on those driving, but for passengers and other drivers on the road.
“Driving under the influence can have a significant impact on other people,” said Baclian. “A person is putting other peoples’ lives at risk when they decide to drink and drive. My mom instilled in me at a young age that when you make that choice and you end up crippling or killing someone, that feeling stays with you forever. No amount of good will bring that person back to life. You may think you're fine, but it's not worth your life and someone else's as a result of poor decision-making.”
In addition to the potentially fatal consequences of driving under the influence, those actions can also cost one their career, and a lot of money.
“Driving under the influence can have severe implications on your career,” said Baclian. “It can cost you your career: a demotion, referral performance report, an Article 15 that will make it difficult for re-enlistment, and a potential criminal conviction.”
AADD takes on a multitude of volunteers. Staff Sgt. Isis Land, AADD president, explained how many AADD members are typically needed, their roles, and how more Team V members can get involved.
“We solicit for five people a night on weekends, holidays, and events to be a dispatcher, primary or alternative female driver, and primary or alternative male driver,” said Land, 30th Medical Group Periodic Health Assessments NCOIC. “To get involved, members can reach out to their squadron reps, our driver coordinators, or any of the council members and let us know when they would like to help.”
Through her contributions and involvement with AADD, Baclian has been a consistent wingman for her fellow Team V members.
“It's a great feeling,” said Baclian. “I'd drive anyone of my friends if they needed it and this allows me to expand and be a wingman to other people.”
With the potential to save a career or a life, AADD is always just a phone call away. Volunteers like Baclian are always happy to answer that call.
“It has been drilled into our heads at every safety brief to have a plan,” said Baclian. “You should not be ashamed to ask for help. There are people who work every week to drive out and make sure you get home safe.”
Don’t drive under the influence. If you ever need a ride, contact AADD at 805-606-2233 (AADD).