Special to The Ely Times

Every decision is important, it comes down to choices, that is what Red Ribbon Week is all about, and this week long event returns for its third year here in White Pine, Monday, Oct. 22.

This year’s theme is “Life is Your Journey, Travel Drug Free.” The theme was created by a student at Solon Middle School in Solon, Ohio.

The RRW committee’s focus is to bring an awareness about drugs and their harmful effects to our community. The Red Ribbon serves as a catalyst to rally communities to educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention conversations and activities.

The Ely Elks Lodge, White Pine County Sheriff’s Office, Nevada Highway Patrol, Nevada Division of Investigation and Juvenile Probation encourages everyone in the  community to get involved.

What can you do to create awareness and prevention?

Wear your red ribbons the week of Oct. 22. Put red ribbons on your doors or mailboxes, even the outside of your businesses. Talk to your children about drugs. Children of parents who talk to their teens regularly about drugs are 42 percent less likely to use drugs than those who don’t, yet only a quarter of teens report having these conversations.

How did Red Ribbon Week begin? The National Family Partnership first started in 1985. In response to the murder of DEA Agent Enrique Camarena, parents and youth angered by the event, sparked communities to come together and wear a Red Ribbon as a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness of the killing and destruction caused by drugs in America.

Enrique Camarena was a Drug Enforcement Administration Agent who was tortured and killed in Mexico in 1985. His mother tried to talk him out of joining the DEA, but he told his mother “I’m only one person, I want to make a difference.”

On Feb. 7, 1985 the 37-year-old agent left his office to meet his wife for lunch. Five men appeared at the agent’s side and shoved him into a car. One month later, agent Camarena’s body was found. He had been tortured to death.

In honor of Camarena’s battle against drugs, friends, neighbors and family members began wearing red badges of satin.

Some of the new coalitions took Camarena as their model and embraced his belief that one person can make a difference. The red ribbon became a symbol of Camarena’s memory.

A proclamation was signed by the White Pine County Commission, City of Ely, the White Pine County School District and the Learning Bridge Charter School designating the week of Oct. 22 as National Red Ribbon Week.

Schools are a very important part of Red Ribbon Week  as well, because they provide lessons and learning activities that help children and youth develop skills to make good decisions and healthy drug free lifestyles.

This cultivates a framework for children to grow up and lead productive, contributing lives in a community.

During this week, National Take Back Drugs Day is also recognized. The White Pine County Sheriff’s Office has a bin located at the public safety building on 1785 Great Basin Blvd.

The bin is located there year round but this weeks is a great time to clean out your medicine cabinet and get rid of those expired prescriptions and ones you no longer use so they can be disposed of safely.

Coordinator and local spokesperson for the event Mary Kerner said, “Drug Awareness is such an important topic. We have a wonderful community and I love seeing everyone work together to support this annual event.”

For additional information you can follow them on Facebook at ‘Red Ribbon Week – White Pine County NV’, or contact Kerner at 775-293-0809.