Wilton SafeRides launched its sixth consecutive year on Sept. 16 with a kick-off meeting at Trackside Teen Center.

In attendance were approximately 125 student volunteers, Mark Ketley, Trackside executive director, Lt. David Hartman from the Wilton Police Department, and John Meyers, secretary of the Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps and his daughter Alex, also a volunteer from the corps.

Topics covered at the meeting included the perils of drinking and driving, how to recognize alcohol poisoning  and when to call 911.

“To have an alum of Wilton High School (Hartman WHS ’94) and a peer like Alex (WHS ’19) to provide us with first-hand experience and insight into these topics was very helpful to everyone who came to our meeting,” said Maddie Burke, who along with Brigette Wall  is heading the program this year.

Addressing the student volunteers, Hartman pledged the unconditional support of the program from the police. “As a teenager growing up in Wilton and now as a police officer in our town I can unequivocally state that SafeRides saves lives and helps prevent many problems.” Last year the police department. awarded SafeRides the AAA Traffic Safety Hero of the Year Award in recognition of its contributions to the community.

Ketley also expressed his support. “We are proud to have SafeRides operate out of Trackside. It is the premier program in Fairfield County — a model that many other programs try to copy.”  

Wilton SafeRides operates out of Trackside every Friday and Saturday night, weather permitting. It is a program whereby any Wilton High School student can call 834-CARE  and get a safe ride home on Friday and Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

All calls, names, and addresses are kept completely confidential — no questions asked. It’s a program for students run by students and it is completely free.

In addition to Maddie and Brigette, this years student board of directors include Teena Moya, Taylor White, Chris Tinker, Kaitlin Reif, Jimmy O’Brien and Meghan Lane.  Each student board member has assembled a team of approximately 15 students who volunteer one night a month.

The first night of operation is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 21. “We are really excited to open up this weekend,” said Brigette, “just in time for Homecoming.”