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NEWS | Oct. 25, 2021

Alaska National Guard participates in Red Ribbon Week

By Victoria Granado Joint Force Headquarters Public Affairs

The Alaska National Guard partnered with state and local agencies in virtually presenting to the students across Alaska for Red Ribbon Week. Kicking off on Oct. 23, the anti-drug abuse initiative will continue through end of the month, engaging students from elementary school to high school with this year's theme of “Drug Free Looks Like Me”.
Taking social distancing into consideration, the United States’ Drug Enforcement Administration joined the Alaska National Guard in producing a public service announcement that is available for viewing by students during Red Ribbon Week. Sgt. Oliver Meza, the non-commissioned officer in charge of the AKNG’s Counterdrug Support Program, facilitated the participation of Guardsmen and local residents.
“Red Ribbon Week highlights the importance of living drug free,” said Meza. “The Alaska National Guard works annually with the DEA, local law enforcement and community-based organizations to bolster drug awareness and prevention efforts that are primarily focused on youth in our Alaskan communities.”
Starting with the first National Red Ribbon Campaign in 1988, the program has cultivated a tradition of community action and involvement. Guardsmen and civilians throughout Anchorage joined the effort in supporting students while advocating for a drug-free lifestyle.
“Drug abuse is a door slamming in your face,” said Rikk Rambo, special agent for the DEA. “To me, there are so many incentives to staying drug free and having a fulfilling life. From getting the job you want to seeing the world, there are is so much to experience.”
The Red Ribbon Week public service announcement showcases professions from law enforcement in the Wasilla and Anchorage Police Departments to working telecommunications for the Alaska Railroad.
“Staying drug free has opened a lot of rewarding opportunities in my life,” said Sgt. Timothy Mathews, weapons squad leader for the 297th Infantry Company and telecom officer for the Alaska Railroad. “It has definitely helped me in my career. A lot of things I’ve done in my life wouldn’t have been possible if I was abusing drugs.”
The Red Ribbon Week campaign is the Nation’s largest drug prevention program reaching students from over 600 participating schools.
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