Wednesday, October 19, 2005

NEIGHBORS >> National Guard unit visits Cabot Central Elementary, spreads anti-drug message

Leader staff writer

The Arkansas National Guard on Friday visited students at Cabot Central Elementary School and talked about the fight the war on drugs in the state.

Guardsmen from the Counter Drug Unit from Camp Robinson arrived in a Light armored vehicle (LAV) and an UH-1 helicopter.
“That’s the most awesome sight to see the helicopter landing and taking off at our campus,” said Stacy Sales, a first-grade teacher at Central Elementary.

“Our neighbors around the school came out to watch too.”
After arriving, the Guardsmen told students about patrolling Arkansas with local sheriff departments to help root out drugs.
Sales says it is never too early to teach children how to say no to drugs.

“We discussed what drugs are, and why students shouldn’t take prescription medicine that isn’t prescribed for them,” she said.
Afterwards, students got to explore the interior of the LAV and helicopter.

The visit was part of Red Ribbon Week, which officially starts Oct. 24. As part of Red Ribbon Week, public schools across the country coordinate daily activities to remind children to keep healthy and away from drugs.

Red Ribbon Week began in 1985 when Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena was kidnapped and murdered in Mexico while investigating marijuana and cocaine traffickers.

In Camarena’s hometown of Calexico, Calif., high school friend Henry Lozano and Cong. Duncan Hunter-R launched “Camarena Clubs” where hundreds of club members wore red ribbons and pledged to lead drug-free lives to honor the sacrifices made by Kiki Camarena and others on behalf of all Americans.

Red Ribbon Week eventually gained momentum throughout California.
In 1985, club members presented the “Camarena Club Proclamation” to then First Lady Nancy Reagan, bringing it national attention.
Later that summer, parent groups in California, Illinois and Virginia began promoting the wearing of Red Ribbons nationwide during late October.

The campaign was then formalized in 1988 with then President Ronald Regan and First Lady Nancy Regan serving as honorary chairpersons.

Today the week-long event is sponsored by the National Family Partnership, previously known as the Federation of Parents for Drug Free Youth.

It has become the annual catalyst to show intolerance for drugs in schools, work places and communities.