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)
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
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.