Dragons promote drug awareness in children
October 31, 2012
COPPERAS COVE, Texas -- "We are…Drug free. We are…Drug free."
This chant along with several similar ones were widely echoed across the J L Williams Ledger Elementary Campus during a Red Ribbon Walk.
Red Ribbon Week is a nationwide alcohol, tobacco and other drug and violence prevention awareness campaign normally observed in October.
Drug Enforcement Agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena spent 1981 to 1985 working undercover in Guadalajara, Mexico, before being kidnapped, tortured and murdered. In honor of Camarena's memory and his hard work against drugs, his family, friends and neighbors began wearing red badges of satin.
According to the DEA and the National Family Partnership, approximately 80 million people participate in Red Ribbon events every year.
This year, nine Soldiers from the 1st "Dragons" Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, joined students from J L Williams Ledger Elementary School to conclude Red Ribbon Week, here, Oct. 26.
"We are excited to be a positive figure for the children," said Leesville, La. native, 2nd Lt. Kathleen Rojewski, the assistant intelligence analyst for the Dragon Battalion. "To show the importance of no drug use and we hope to continue to be a strong influence on the kids and give them the support that they need."
Although the weather was less than desirable, it did not affect the enthusiasm of the children. They still high-fived, saluted and waved at Soldiers as they passed them during their walk around campus.
"I love kids," said Sgt. Kemelia Campbell, a power generator equipment repairer assigned to Forward Support Company G of the Dragon Battalion. "I believe they need positive role models. Plus they look up to us like we are superheroes, it's just awesome."
Students were holding signs reading: 'Say no to drugs', 'Hands off drugs', 'Sock it to drugs' and many more.
"I have zero tolerance for drugs," Campbell said. "Don't do it, if you can't think clearly, don't do it, they are just really bad."
Due to the cold weather, the march was shortened and made its way to the school gymnasium where they conducted a mini-pep rally.
Once in the gymnasium, the children filed in and started dancing to upbeat, encouraging songs, like 'Shout'. Upon concluding the event, the students recited 'drug free' spirited chants.
"I had fun spending the afternoon with the children," said Valley City, Nev. native, Pfc. Dillon Bishop a cannon crew member assigned to the Dragon's B Battery. "It's awesome to see them so enthusiastic about this event; I hope they keep that enthusiasm about staying drug free their whole lives."
Although the day had to end, the administration does not believe the Soldier's presence will leave with them.
"We love having our Soldiers come spend time with our students," concluded Daniel Dodson, assistant principal for J L Williams Ledger Elementary School. "The students find them very inspiring, and look up to them, so having (Soldiers) here sets a good example for the younger children."