November 17, 1977 - July 22, 2000
Ensign John R. Elliott
U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2000.
Named HERO of the Year.
Killed by a drunken driver.
The Heart of a Hero Inspires the HERO Campaign
Early on the morning of July 22, 2000 John Elliott was on his way
home to New Jersey from Annapolis, Maryland for his mother’s
birthday when he was killed in head-on collision with a drunken
driver. The other driver had been arrested earlier in the evening on
DUI charges and was then released to a friend. This friend allowed the
intoxicated driver to get back behind the wheel of his SUV.
He resumed driving, struck John’s car, and killed them both.
John had just recently graduated with merit from the Naval Academy
with a B.S. in Systems Engineering and was named the Outstanding
HERO (Human Education Resource Officer) of his class for his service
to his fellow midshipmen. As a HERO, John was a peer counselor
and advocate for his classmates, helping them with academic and
In memory of their son John, the Elliott family established the John R.
Elliott Foundation and the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for
Designated Drivers® in October 2000.
Mission and Goals of the HERO Campaign
The mission of the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers®, a program of the John R. Elliott Foundation, is to prevent drunken driving tragedies by promoting the use of safe and sober designated drivers.
The Campaign’s goal is to register one million designated drivers nationwide and make having a designated driver as automatic as wearing a seatbelt.
The HERO Campaign’s awareness efforts include highway billboards, television commercials, distribution of hundreds of thousands of posters, car decals, brochures, and wristbands throughout the nation.