Guard rescues grad party

DAYTON -- Just when it looked like a major roadblock had been thrown into the path of the annual Dayton High School alcohol free graduation night party, Nevada's Army National Guard rolled to the rescue.

After months of planning and confident safe transportation had been arranged, party organizer Jannette Hoffert was told two weeks before the event she could not use the Central Lyon County Park and Recreation Department's bus to take students to the Incline Village Recreation Center.

The school district recently donated the bus to the department, but insurance concerns prompted county officials to say no to using it for the June 7 event.

"We checked out all rental possibilities, but it was way too expensive. At that point we did not know what to do, because we did not want the students driving back to Dayton after being up all night," Hoffert, director of Central Lyon County Park and Recreation, said.

That's when Tammy Sears, Hoffert's sister and a recent enlistee in the National Guard, said she would ask if the Guard would be able to help out. The result was the use of three National Guard buses, with volunteer National Guard drivers, to transport the 147 students to and from the party.

According to Lt. Col. Mike Stafford, the National Guard is prohibited from competing with private enterprise, but if a legitimate need can be shown buses can be made available for such community directed services.

"We got a call from Tammy explaining all avenues had been exhausted and they were looking for some help," he said. "If we managed to keep just one graduate safe and from drinking and driving, then I think our participation was well worth our time."

Hoffert could not agree more.

"We had so many people come forward to help us keep this going, including the chaperones, community volunteers and donations, the staff at the Incline Recreation Center and the great kids in the class of 2002," she noted. "But the last minute cooperation of the National Guard really was very special in that it insured everyone's safety for the entire evening."


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