COPPERAS COVE — “We are ... drug free. We are ... drug free.”
This chant 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, about 80 million people participate in Red Ribbon events every year.
This year, nine soldiers from the “Dragon” battalion, 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, joined students from J.L. Williams Ledger Elementary to conclude Red Ribbon Week on Oct. 26.
“We are excited to be a positive figure for the children,” said 2nd Lt. Kathleen Rojewski, the battalion’s assistant intelligence analyst. “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. “I believe they need positive role models. Plus they look up to us like we are superheroes, it’s just awesome.”