A publication of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

June 2000/July 2000

Veterans Against Drugs Task Force Report

The Start Of Something Big

By Herb Worthington, Chair

Friday, May 26, started out like most days at Cramp Elementary School in Philadelphia. But onecould sense that something big was going to happen when a Marine Honor Guard showed up in front of the school, followed by members of VVA Liberty Bell Chapter 266, along with Richard Montgomery, Medal of Honor recipient Richard Rocco, and myself.

We lined up in a procession of schoolchildren, adults, clergy, civic leaders, and police officials to march through the streets of Philadelphia in protest of illegal drugs and drug dealers. Some 700 children from 15 Philadelphia schools joined the march. At the march's end, an awards ceremony was held for students to honor their accomplishments and their efforts to fight drugs in their community. Rocco encouraged the students to use their energies to help combat drugs and to encourage their friends not to use drugs.

The Philadelphia event was preceded by one in Bakersfield, California, led by VVA board member Vernon Valenzuela. As in the past, Valenzuela and a group of students, parents, and teachers were successful in getting their message across as a united front against illegal drugs.  They also graduated their first class from the Veterans Against Drugs (VAD) program.

Two counties of New Jersey also completed their first year in the VAD program. Nearly 140 students completed the first track of the program. Plans are under way to expand the program under the leadership of Gene Davis at a boot camp program at Fort Dix. VAD in San Antonio under Richard Rocco also is working on a boot camp program run by the Texas National Guard.

Another way to fight and to make a few dollars for local chapters is the K-mart Kids Race Against Drugs. State council presidents have information on the program. For more details, please contact me. The program already is half over. Call soon to find out if you can participate in one in your area.


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