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Red Ribbon Week

Red Ribbon Week is a national drug awareness campaign that is held every year from October 23 - 31st. It began in 1985 in memory of Special Agent Enrique Camarena of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Camarena was abducted in February 1985, by Mexican drug traffickers while he was investigating a multi-billion dollar drug scam. He was beaten, tortured, and killed. Because of his belief that one person can make a difference, his sacrifice was recognized by Congress to honor him and all those who fight substance abuse. Millions of children and adults are asked to wear red ribbons to promote and celebrate a drug-free lifestyle.
 

Our office joins the DEA in sponsoring the Enrique Camarena award during Red Ribbon Week. The award is given every year to a law enforcement officer who has truly exemplified making a difference in the lives of young people through drug prevention. A nomination form is sent out every fall to all law enforcement agencies in the state.

The 2019 award is presented to two deserving recipients:

Cedar Rapids Police Officer Lindsay Powers serves as the Prevention Officer for the Eastern Iowa Heroin Initiative, focusing on reducing the impact of the opioid epidemic that has been spreading across the nation.  In addition to many programs aimed at educating the public, first responders, and medical providers about their role in combatting this increasing problem, Officer Powers also developed a program specifically aimed at educating youth regarding the dangers of heroin and other opioids.  She has partnered with community organizations to bring awareness to parents of young people as well, so that signs of potential drug abuse can be identified at an early stage.  She brings a passion to the position and is committed to saving lives through her opioid-related work.  She embodies the spirit of the Enrique Camarena Award, and is a deserving recipient.    

Sioux City Police Officer Kevin McCormick effectively serves as the face of the Sioux City Police Department to many children and young people in the Sioux City area.  In the past several years as a youth investigator, Officer McCormick has organized and participated in numerous events aimed at helping children and young adults make positive choices in their lives.  Along with several programs aimed at curbing drug abuse, he created “High-Five Fridays” at an area elementary school, where all children are greeted on Friday mornings with high fives from police officers, firefighters, and other community members.  He serves on the board for countless organizations dedicated to improving the lives of young people, and has served as a role model and mentor during some of the most difficult times of their lives.  His work and dedication in this area has undoubtedly resulted in children choosing to avoid drugs, alcohol, and to have a better relationship with law enforcement.  Officer McCormick is a deserving recipient of this year’s award.

Federal prosecutors in this office are willing to speak to schools and organizations regarding the hazards of drug abuse.  If you would like someone to speak to your school or organization during Red Ribbon Week, or at any other time, please contact Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Lightfoot at Justin.Lightfoot@usdoj.gov.

Updated December 13, 2019

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