MacDill first sergeants assist JSADD volunteers

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Adam Shanks
  • 6th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

First sergeants and other senior NCOs joined junior-enlisted Airmen as volunteers for MacDill Air Force Base’s Joint Services Against Drunk Driving program during the Veterans Day weekend Nov. 8 and 9, 2019.

JSADD is a volunteer-based program comprised mostly of junior-enlisted service members living in the dormitories on MacDill, who provide a safe ride home for base residents in the event they need a ride home after consuming too much alcohol to drive.

“I started helping out with JSADD in January of this year, and now the first sergeants are trying to assist every quarter,” said Master Sgt. Lordell Wilson, 6th Force Support Squadron first sergeant. “It’s a way for us to help out the Airmen and give them a break from weekend volunteering.”

As first sergeants, they are responsible for the health and welfare of every Airman in their respective squadron or unit. By volunteering with JSADD, they provide rides to service members who might not be in their organization, or even in their branch of service.

“With the first sergeants volunteering for this program, we’re being more proactive than reactive when it comes to preventing [driving under the influence] charges,” said Master Sgt. Keisha Tomlinson, the 6th Contracting Squadron first sergeant. “It’s also a way for us to promote discipline for ourselves and the Airmen we volunteer with.”

Senior Airman Octavain Jackson, a 6th Security Forces Squadron entry controller, also works as the JSADD secretary during his weekend shifts. Jackson stayed behind to brief the first sergeants about the program, and went over the rules and standard operating procedures JSADD volunteers agree to when they volunteer as designated drivers.

“There are many rules and guidelines we follow to promote the safety of our volunteers and the safety of the people that call for our service,” said Jackson. “Volunteering for JSADD ultimately comes down to sacrificing a small portion of your free time to possibly help others from making the bad decision to drive home drunk.”

Since first sergeants began volunteering, JSADD regulars like Jackson have seen a boost in volunteers. Wilson explained that networking has been a huge influence to the volunteers coming in.

“JSADD can be a life-saving resource,” added Wilson. “It’s up to these volunteers to offer their help to Airmen before they make a situation escalate into something much worse.”

JSADD offers a free, anonymous and safe alternate mode of transportation for those who have been drinking and are unable to secure a ride home, helping prevent incidents involving driving under the influence with a single phone call.

Even the best plan is subject to change, which is why JSADD should be used as a last resort after a plan falls through, not as a taxi service.

The consequences of a DUI can be devastating. If you ever find yourself unable to make it home safely, call (813) 828–RIDE (4473).