Submitted by Mary Kerner

White Pine County celebrated Red Ribbon Week (RRW) last year, and a dedicated group of individuals is working behind the scenes to bring RRW to your community this year. They plan to continue to make this a local annual event. The Ely Elks Lodge, along with Rotary, Ely Lions, White Pine County Sheriff’s Office, Nevada Division of Investigation, Juvenile Probation, White Pine County School District and Learning Bridge have been meeting weekly to plan the RRW.  This year’s theme is “Your Future Is Key So Stay Drug Free”.

The National Family Partnership (NFP) organized the first Nationwide Red Ribbon Week Campaign. Since its beginning in 1985, the Red Ribbon has touched the lives of millions of people around the world. In response to the murder of DEA Agent Enrique Camarena, angered parents and youth in communities across the country began wearing Red Ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness of the killing and destruction caused by drugs in America.

Enrique (Kiki) Camarena was a Drug Enforcement Administration Agent who was tortured and killed in Mexico in 1985. In honor of Camarena’s memory and his battle against illegal drugs, friends and neighbors began to wear red badges of satin. Parents, sick of the destruction of alcohol and other drugs, had begun forming coalitions. Some of these new coalitions took Camarena as their model and embraced his belief that one person can make a difference. These coalitions also adopted the symbol of Camarena’s memory, the red ribbon.

Today, the Red Ribbon serves as a catalyst to mobilize communities to educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities. Since that time, the campaign has reached millions of U.S. children and families. The (NFP) and its network of individuals and organizations continue to deliver his message of hope to millions of people every year, through the National Red Ribbon Week Campaign™.

There is a guest speaker coming to our community to address our students. His name is Robert Hackenson Jr. Logistics haven’t been completely ironed out yet, but the speaker will be here on Thursday, October 26th. Watch your school announcements for details. There will also be a contest for grades 6-12. Watch the newspaper for clues! The keys to success on this competition will be the history of RRW, awareness and prevention. Students will be tasked with incorporating these keys into a class presentation. Presentations will be judged on creativity, content, organization and presentation.

The Red Ribbon Week Committee encourages everyone in our community to get involved. Wear your red ribbons the week of October 23rd. Put red ribbons on your doors or mailboxes, even the outside of your businesses.  Have conversations with your children about drugs. Children of parents who talk to their teens regularly about drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs than those who don’t, yet only a quarter of teens report having these conversations. We hope to have great community support this year! You can check out the RRW link at and also watch Facebook for the event information and updates!

If you have any questions or ideas, please contact Mary Kerner at 293-0809.