HERO Campaign founder Bill Elliott helps Alexa Moore, a junior nursing major, hold up a poster after Moore was named the 2023 Stockton HERO of the Year. Moore will be featured on signage around campus and on a highway billboard, promoting the message to be a designated driver HERO.

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP – When Alexa Moore joined Sigma Delta Tau, she was surprised it was the only sorority on campus that relied on an external car service for social events transportation.

That was the first thing she changed once the junior from Toms River was elected this year to the sorority’s executive board as the risk management chair.

The designated driver program she established uses other members of Sigma Delta Tau as designated drivers and was a big reason why Moore was selected April 13 as the 2023 Stockton HERO of the Year by the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers®.

“I could not be more proud to be aligned with something like this,” Moore said, holding a large poster stating, “Be Like Alexa. Be a Designated Driver.”

“I’ve worked really hard in my life to make myself proud of what I’m doing, and I think this might be my proudest achievement so far,” she said.

Moore will be featured on signage around campus and on a highway billboard, promoting the message to be a designated driver HERO.

“I’m sure my mom is going to make me take a picture with it, everywhere,” Moore said with a laugh. “But I’m really excited to be the face of the HERO Campaign for the next year. It’s a great thing to be a part of.”

Moore said she witnessed the impact of drunken driving when she was an emergency medical technician in high school.

“I’ve seen the disasters of drunken driving and the fatalities it can cause,” she said. “As a nursing major this is something I feel really strongly that needs to change in the world. We need to have better programs to allow people to not feel like they have to get behind the wheel.”

Elliott’s father and founder of the campaign, Bill Elliot, said the campaign received more nominations from students (16) than in any other year in the program’s history. He praised Moore and two other Stockton students honored at the ceremony — first runner-up Molly Schick of Marlton and second runner-up Sarah Cipkins of Somers Point.

From left, second runner up Sarah Cipkins, 2023 Stockton HERO of the Year Alexa Moore, and first runner up Molly Schick, will be featured as part of the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers.

“These young ladies who were nominated and selected are wonderful examples, and probably have already saved a life and certainly will in the future as they serve as examples,” he said.

The HERO Campaign® is named for Ensign John R. Elliott, an Egg Harbor Township resident and graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, who was struck and killed by a drunk driver on his way home for his mother’s birthday in 2000. His family started the John R. Elliott Foundation and HERO Campaign® that year.

Since 2010, Stockton has partnered with the HERO Campaign® on the Hero of the Year program and the HERO Games on campus, in which members of the university’s Greek organizations compete and raise awareness of the campaign. This year, 156 students took the HERO pledge before the games began. The HERO Campaign® also organized a separate Greek Week Penny Drive with Stockton fraternities and sororities that raised nearly $600.

Elliott said it’s all part of a comprehensive marketing plan to change people’s behavior around drinking and driving.

“We’d like to change the meaning of some terms like happy hour and life of the party,” he said. “The real life of the party is the designated driver that enables other people to have fun and still be safe. And the happiest ones at Happy Hour are those who get a ride home from someone who makes sure they get home safely.”

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.