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Operation Red Nose holiday ride campaign underway, runs through December

After a pandemic pause for the past two years, Operation Red Nose is back offering safe rides home for wintertime revellers this year.
Operation Red Nose chair Ted Hewitt, Dennis Whitbread, Flin Flon RCMP Cpl. Steve Brushett, Flin Flon Mayor George Fontaine and the Rotary Club's Dean Grove, Kody Eastman and Jane Robillard pose at the official kick-off of Flin Flon's Operation Red Nose campaign Dec. 1.

After a pandemic pause for the past two years, Operation Red Nose is back offering safe rides home for wintertime revellers this year.

The driving service, staffed by local organizations and done to raise money for youth sports and children’s causes, will return in Flin Flon for the first time since 2019 this month. This year, Operation Red Nose will operate every Friday and Saturday night, eight nights in total, from the start of December until Christmas Eve - Dec. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17 and 23 - and will operate New Years’ Eve. The service also operated Nov. 26, with the Flin Flon Skating Club opening the season.

On each of those nights, three-person teams of volunteers will be providing rides - with one volunteer driving the caller home in their own vehicle, another serving as a navigator and a third driving behind in a second vehicle, tailing after to whisk away the other two back to base - from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Partygoers from Flin Flon, Creighton, Denare Beach, Channing, Bakers Narrows and Schist Lake can each use the service to get home after a night’s revelry.

The rides are free for all who need them, but tips are encouraged - the money from those tips goes to raising funds for community childrens' causes. In 2019, 216 people used Red Nose to get home in Flin Flon, Creighton, Denare Beach and other areas nearby, raising $3,944.15 for community groups through tips. Recipients of that money have included the Phantom Lake Soccer Club, Flin Flon Minor Hockey, Flin Flon Ski Club, the Aqua Centre and related groups.

"The service is to really get people home with their vehicles safely, when they may have had a drink or two or whatever, are feeling overly tired or that sort of thing," said Red Nose chair Ted Hewitt.

"A goal behind the Operation Red Nose service is to raise funds so that we can give them out to children's activities, preferably organized sports."

Some of the nights have already been booked by local sponsors. Dec. 9's drives will be done by workers with Hudbay, while Dec. 10 will be done by volunteers with the Flin Flon Ski Club. The United Steelworkers Local 7106 will drive Dec. 16 and family members and friends of the Flin Flon Minor Hockey U13 Kinsmen Bombers will take care of business Dec. 17. Drivers are still needed for Dec. 23 and 31.

Red Nose services across Manitoba were shut down for 2020 and 2021 due to pandemic concerns - the first year for the delta wave of COVID-19, the second year due to the surging omicron variant of the disease. This year, the service is more or less back to the practices it had in 2019.

This year's campaign saw a slow start Nov. 26 - Hewitt hopes more people will think of using the service this year and raise money for community groups instead of potentially trying to drive in an unsafe state.

"We're hoping that it gets back to before - we haven't run for two years. We're hoping that we get back to pre-COVID. When we ran Friday, we were a little disappointed. We had communication with other clubs in Manitoba and they were all disappointed on their first events," Hewitt said.

"With a little more awareness that it is available now, we hope it'll be better."

People hoping to drive for Operation Red Nose this year can go to the Operation Red Nose registration website at to apply and find further information.

Rides can be booked by going to or by calling (204) 687-7331 during the hours of operation - 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. on the aforementioned nights, running later on New Years' Eve.

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