Celebrating Red Ribbon Week

By Melissa Huber, I-O Reporter

In 1984 Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, an undercover agent for the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), supplied information that led to the destruction of a 2,500 acre marijuana farm called “Rancho Búfalo” owned by notorious drug lords. The decimation of the $8 billion crop created an outrage among the drug lords, and as a result, the infamous Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, ordered the kidnapping of Camarena in February of 1985.

Camarena was abducted in broad daylight by corrupt police officers on Gallardo’s payroll, and later tortured to death for providing the information that led to the destruction of the marijuana farm.

The outrage caused by his torture and murder prompted parents and youth to begin wearing red ribbons in an effort to raise awareness of the destruction caused by drugs. This eventually led to the National Family Partnership (NFP) sponsoring the first National Red Ribbon Celebration in 1988.

Today, Red Ribbon Week acts as way to educate youth about the dangers and destructive nature of drugs by encouraging participation in drug prevention activities.

The Harlem Ambassadors kick off Conrad’s celebration of the weeklong event on Oct. 28 at 12:45 p.m. with an assembly in the CHS gym. The Ambassadors will perform a skit about living drug free, and all schools will be in attendance.

Later that evening, at 7 p.m., they will take to the court in a game against the Chamber Challengers. The game is sure to be an entertaining one. Be sure to get your tickets for this fun event, and show your support for the Conrad Chamber of Commerce.

On Oct. 29 at 2:30 p.m., CHS will have another assembly, this time in the auditorium, featuring three gentlemen from the Warm Springs Addiction Treatment and Change (WATCh) program that are in prison for vehicular homicide due to drunk driving.

The WATCh program is a partnership between Community, Counseling, and Correctional Services, Inc. and the Montana Department of Corrections. This program is a pro-active, cost-effective sentencing alternative that allows individuals to receive treatment for addiction and the subsequent social issues in lieu of extended stays in jail or prison for DUIs.

The community is invited and encouraged to attend as these three gentlemen speak to the students about their experiences.

Schools will have theme days, and local businesses are encouraged to participate right along with the students.

Monday’s theme will be “My Future is Bright, No Drugs in Sight”, which will be a hat and sunglasses day. Tuesday is “Smarties Don’t Do Drugs” where participants dress as nerds. Wednesday is “Sock-it to Drugs” with participants wearing mismatched or crazy socks. Thursday “Don’t get caught in the Web of Drugs” and dress up for Halloween, and on Friday show some town pride with the Cowboy/Cowgirl theme day, “Give Drugs the Boot”.

Those looking to participate can look for the UMS ReACT kids who will be going around to businesses with details, and will also be asking if they can decorate business windows for Red Ribbon Week. ReACT, along with MBI teams, will decorate Main St. and 4th Ave. with Red Ribbons.

Elementary school students can look forward the ReACT kids who will be doing activities with the students there.

Other fun things going on are a coloring contest to be held for the Meadowlark students, with prizes to be awarded to the top two from each grade, an ice cream social at UMS on Nov. 1, and paper bags decorated by the Prairie View students to be used at IGA during Red Ribbon Week. City Center Espresso will also be showing support by placing Red Ribbons on cups during the week.