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Helping Hands: Red Ribbon Week

Red Ribbon Week is the last week in October. Barstow’s Red Ribbon Kick-off Breakfast will be Friday, Oct. 19 from 7 to 9 a.m. This is the 17th annual breakfast here. All of them have been sponsored by Emblem Club #311 and held at the Elks Lodge, 1501 West Main Street. Cheri Magorno, as the Emblem Club Drug Awareness Chairman, is director of the breakfast. “Look At Me, I’m Drug Free” is this year’s Red Ribbon theme.

Barstow Elks Lodge #1920, California Highway Patrol, Barstow Police Dept. and MCLB Drug & Alcohol Awareness Committee will have displays at the breakfast meeting.

Tickets are $7 per person. Tickets are still available Thursday, but none will be sold at the door. Call 256-2967 to order tickets. All proceeds go to benefit local youth programs.

Placemats are being designed and made by fifth-grade students at both Barstow and Silver Valley Unified Districts. There will be enough to also give them out to the Retirement Plaza, Rimrock Convalescent Hospital and the Veterans Home.

Present at the breakfast will be teachers and students representing both the Barstow and Silver Valley School Districts and Barstow College. Speaking during the breakfast will be representatives from the schools and include several from the BHS Sober Club.

Local school will have appropriate activities for Red Ribbon Week. Some will include contests. At Barstow Unified School District pencils and ribbons will be given to staff and students and individual rooms will determine how else to celebrate. At Silver Valley, schools will make individual room plans and distribute pencils, ribbons and posters.

Our Red Ribbon Campaign was sparked by the murder of a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) special agent, Enrique “Kiki” Camarena who was brutally tortured and murdered at the hands of drug traffickers in 1985. He had grown up in Calexico, a small Southern California border town. He went to school, graduated, served in the armed forces, fell in love, married, began to raise their children and became a police officer. Dedicated to the service of others, he decided to be a warrior in the fight against crime and was a DEA special agent until his murder.

Within weeks of Camarena’s death, a high school friend and his congressman launched Camarena Clubs in the Imperial Valley. Hundreds of club members pledged to lead drug-free lives to honor the sacrifices made by Camarena and others in his behalf for all Americans. From those clubs emerged the Red Ribbon Week Campaign. In 1988 Congress established a National Red Ribbon Campaign.

Observance of that campaign was held across the country and Barstow participated in various ways. However it was in 1991 that our local Emblem Club began a Kick-off breakfast here which continues to date. It is held the Friday before the National Red Ribbon Week — the last week in October.

Today Red Ribbon Week is nationally recognized and celebrated to help preserve Special Agent Camarena’s memory and further the cause for which he gave his life. It became a symbol and support for the DEA’s efforts to reduce the demand for drugs through prevention and educational. By wearing a red ribbon during that week we show our support of our nation’s struggle against drug trafficking and abuse.

Attend the Kick-off Breakfast on Friday if you are able and do wear a red ribbon all next week to show your support of all the efforts aimed at becoming drug free.


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