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Minnesota National Guard
Black Hawk touches down at Crossroads

Camouflaged Minnesota National Guardsmen disembarked from the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter Oct 28.

Braced against the cutting winds they saluted some 300 Crossroads Alternative High School students, huddled against the building and anxious to hear what the guardsmen had to say.
The guardsmen were on a Red Ribbon Week mission and they touched down on Crossroads' property in Coon Rapids to accomplish part of that mission.

Minnesota National Guardsmen and members of the St Paul Saints baseball team disembark from the Black Hawk Down helicopter when it touched down Oct 28 at Crossroads Alternative High School for Red Ribbon Week Photo by Sue Austreng.

Red Ribbon Week is a national program created in response to the 1988 death of Special Agent Kiki Camarena, an 11-year veteran of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
As part of Red Ribbon Week the Minnesota National Guard counterdrug team and DEA special agents travel by helicopter to schools throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin, presenting a short program about the importance of living a positive, drug-free lifestyle.

"We got three things to say to you: stay in school, stay away from drugs and stay out of trouble," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Robert as he climbed out of the Black Hawk and addressed the assembled Crossroads students and staff.

Accompanying the Guardsmen and DEA agents to Red Ribbon Week at Crossroads was Tony Sanneh, a former member of the US World Cup soccer team; Jake Schmidt, starting pitcher for the St Paul Saints baseball team; and his bullpen coach, TJ Wiesner.
"This is just such a great way to help reinforce the ideals we have here, a great example of what great things they can do if they make some good choices," said Crossroads staff member Kate Lorenz.

The Minnesota National Guard counterdrug team, partnering with DEA, anticipates reaching more than 7,000 students during Red Ribbon Week 2010.

"Red Ribbon Week is a time to remember those who have given everything in the fight against dangerous drugs," said DEA Acting Administrator Michele Leonhart.

"We wear the Red Ribbon to symbolize our dedication to living healthy, drug-free lives"
Lt. Col. Chad Sackett, counterdrug coordinator for Minnesota National Guard, described the Guard's commitment to Red Ribbon.

"The Minnesota National Guard Counterdrug Task Force is proud to be partnered with the DEA, Minnesota law enforcement agencies, schools and community organizations in providing students an anti-drug/positive life choices presentation during Red Ribbon Week," said Sackett.

Twelve Minnesota schools and two Wisconsin schools took part in Red Ribbon Week this year.

Staff Sgt Dan Young, part of the Guard's Red Ribbon Week team who visited Crossroads Oct 28, said the team "does lots of work with younger students, as well, working with DARE programs all around the state."

Other stops made by the National Guardsmen Red Ribbon Week team included schools in Hudson and River Falls, Wis, Hastings, Bloomington, Lakeville, Shakopee and Red Lake.
"We're just so happy to be a part of their Red Ribbon Week anti-drug mission This is great to have them here," said Crossroads Principal Lynn Salisbury.

To cap their Red Ribbon Week activities, the Minnesota National Guard counterdrug team also partnered with Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) during Anoka Halloween's Oct 30 Grand Day Parade, trooping down Main Street and passing out anti-drug related literature.

"We'll do whatever it takes to help keep kids off drugs," said Young.

For more information about Red Ribbon Week visit www.justice.gov/dea/ongoing/redribbon_factsheet.html or www.nfp.org/default.asp?PageNum=663

Sue Austreng is at sueaustreng@ecm-inc.com
News, Schools | Friday, November 5, 2010 7:03 am by Sue Austreng |
by Sue Austreng
Staff writer


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