BUCKHANNON – Did you know the Red Ribbon Week campaign is the oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the nation?
The Upshur County Commission heard from educators across Upshur County at its meeting Thursday and proclaimed Red Ribbon Week to be from Oct. 28 through Oct. 31. Upshur County School Counselor Larry Lance said it’s a national campaign and actually runs from Oct. 23 though Oct. 31, but Upshur County will use the three days to raise awareness about the dangers of drug use.
“Some things that we’re doing in the schools are working on refusal skills, just saying no, a poster coloring contest is a big thing every year, starting a drug free banner – all the schools have that,” Lance said. “Officer Cpl. Rocky Hebb speaks to some of the students around the schools. We have daily videos at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School, and a guest speaker from WVU Collegiate Recovery Center which is pretty awesome.”
The theme for the 2019 Red Ribbon Week is “Send a Message. Stay Drug Free.”
Lance said on there are three themes for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Monday’s theme is “Send a message, stay drug free, wear red”; Tuesday’s theme is “let’s taco bout it, refuse drugs out loud and wear bright colors”; and Wednesday is “battle against drugs, wear camo.”
Tennerton Elementary School Counselor Suzanne Bohman discussed the history of Red Ribbon Week.
“DEA agent Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena lost his life in 1985 in the fight against drugs, and his friends and neighbors began wearing red ribbons to honor him,” Bohman said. “The Red Ribbon campaign started a year later in 1986. This began the continuing tradition of displaying red ribbons as a symbol of intolerance towards the use of drugs. The mission of the Red Ribbon campaign is to present a unified and visible commitment towards the creation of a drug-free America.”
According to justthinktwice.gov, Camarena was abducted, tortured and brutally murdered by drug traffickers while working undercover as a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency special agent in Mexico.
In other Upshur County Commission news, members of the Band of Brothers have started selling calendars to raise money for Upshur County Youth programs.
Member of the Band of Brothers Al Tucker said there are about 15 members of the Band of Brothers, and this is the fourth year they have raised money by selling calendars.
“We focus on disadvantaged kids and families that are struggling, whether it’s something like a flood or just having difficulty making ends meet,” Tucker said.
He said previously they helped flood victims in Clay, Kanawha and Webster counties.
“It’s just been absolutely amazing what we’ve been able to do with the support of this community, and we’re excited this year that we’re going to focus on Upshur County Youth,” Tucker said.
Member Tim Rock discussed some of the programs they plan to support with the money earned from the calendars.
“We support a prison angel tree program, which is when we have a Christmas party for kids whose parents are incarcerated,” Rock said. “We financially support that and most of these kids’ parents are in jail because of drugs and it’s just awesome to see these kids at this party because they just have a great time.”
A few other programs he talked about included a grandparent program that supports grandparents raising their grandchildren; Rock also said they want to support the Stockert Youth & Community Center, church youth groups and 4-H kids going to camp.
“These calendars are $15 apiece, and they make great Christmas gifts to family that live out of West Virginia because all these pictures are West Virginia scenes,” Rock said.
He said a couple places to purchases the calendars are the WVU 4-H Extension Service Office and Chapel Hill United Methodist Church.