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Funeral Home Offers Partygoers A Safe Ride Home From New Year's Eve Celebrations

Volunteers to serve as drivers from midnight to 4 a.m.

Don Cranston deals with death every day — he runs a funeral home in Haverstraw.

But on New Year’s Eve, his business becomes all about life, and making sure people get home safe from a night of partying.

Cranston and T.J. McGowan Funeral Home, where he is the general manager, are again hosting an annual New Year’s Eve Safe Drive Program. It’s simple: If you shouldn’t be driving because you’ve been drinking, they’ll come pick you up and take you home.

Although the program focuses on Haverstraw and Stony Point, Emily Dominquez, one of the volunteers in the program, says she and other volunteers don’t turn down anyone who calls for a ride.

“If I can save one life, it will be successful event,” said Cranston.

The program runs from midnight to 4 a.m., with volunteer drivers picking up partygoers in vans rented for the New Year’s Eve effort.

Last year, the volunteers in the program provided more than 45 rides. Dominquez noted that some callers even ask if they can get a ride in the funeral home’s hearse. In the past, the hearse was indeed called into service to give a few rides, but this year the hearse is expected to be reserved for company business only.

Here’s how the program works:

Call:  TJ McGowan at 845-429-2130

Hours: Midnight until 4 a.m.

Passengers: They’ll drive you and your guest home.

Cost: The program requests a small donation, which will go to United Way of Rockland.

Snack: Passengers get a bottle of water and a bagel.

Dominguez said the volunteers involved with the program take pride in the fact that there were no drunken driving arrests or DWI-related accidents last New Year’s Eve in North Rockland, where the Safe Drive Program is focused.

On the roads tonight, police throughout Rockland County say there will be extra patrols, with officers on the watch for impaired and drunk drivers. Special checkpoints and roving patrols throughout the Rockland area since Thanksgiving have resulted in numerous DWI arrests throughout the county.

valerie moldow December 31, 2011 at 05:36 PM
I commend Cranston and T.J. McGowan Funeral Home for taking a responsible approach to a potentially deadly problem. Even for those who do not drink. It is always a concern when partygoers get carried away on a night of big celebrations and have a false sense of confidence when getting behind the wheel. As a mother of young drivers, it makes me feel better knowing that my children will have a little less to worry about when out on the roads this evening.

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