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The story behind the red ribbon

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

Most people with children in schools in Newton County know about or have heard about Red Ribbon Week and Red Ribbon Month, celebrated in October.

But some don't know the story behind it.

Enrique S. "Kiki" Camarena was an eleven year veteran agent of the Drug Enforcement Agency. He was kidnapped, brutally tortured and then murdered in Mexico in 1985.

Prior to serving in the DEA, he was a firefighter, a criminal investigator and a narcotics officer. He was a loving husband and father of three children. His death inspired millions of Americans to lead a drug free life.

October is traditionally Red Ribbon Month, a time when people wear red ribbons to commemorate Agent Camarena's ultimate sacrifice.

During the month, all elementary and middle school students and teachers in Newton County wear satin Red Ribbons and have drug-free program.

The Covington Elks and Elkadettes are deeply involved in promoting drug awareness in the schools. In coordination with the Newton County School System, they provide a poster contest for grades three and four with the theme "I've better things to do than drugs." The students can use their imagination in drawing their posters. Winners can compete all the way to the national level.

The Elks also provide an essay contest for grades five through eight with the same theme and national opportunities.