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Retired Globetrotter inspires youths

Red Ribbon Week winds down at local schools

Photo by Johnny Jackson 
TyRone Brown, a retired Harlem Globetrotter, teaches some basketball skills to students at Hickory Flat Elementary School in McDonough.

Photo by Johnny Jackson TyRone Brown, a retired Harlem Globetrotter, teaches some basketball skills to students at Hickory Flat Elementary School in McDonough.

Hickory Flat Elementary School hosted a visit from former Harlem Globetrotter TyRone “Hollywood” Brown, as part of the school’s anti-drug week campaign.

The assembly was the culminating event of the school’s Red Ribbon Week, designed to empower students to commit to a drug-free life. The week officially lasted from Oct. 23, to Oct. 31.

Brown, a retired, 12-year veteran of the Harlem Globetrotters, spoke to students at the McDonough school about the importance of staying drug-free. He delivered a message of virtue and perseverance, relating his own struggles in the game of basketball to potential struggles young people might face.

“You only fail, when you decide not to try,” Brown told students as he relayed his story of hope and persistence.

Brown — also a children’s book author and a spokesperson for the National Education Association — regaled the youths with his story of “trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.” He entertained them with tricks and skills he learned during his basketball career, and ended his presentation by challenging the youngsters to not use alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs.

Also this month, at Timber Ridge Elementary School in McDonough, students got a hands-on look into how law enforcement authorities combat illegal drug use.

Agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) paid a visit to Timber Ridge on Oct. 19, and shared the history of Red Ribbon Week with students.

The annual recognition is deemed the nation’s oldest and largest drug-prevention program, reaching millions of Americans during the last week of October each year.

Red ribbons, hanging in classrooms, or worn by students and school faculty members, demonstrate the pledge to live a drug-free life. The week observing the event was designed to pay tribute to DEA Special Agent Enriqué “Kiki” Camarena. The special agent was an 11-year veteran of the federal drug-fighting agency, assigned to Guadalajara, Mexico, who was kidnapped and murdered in 1985, by Mexican drug traffickers.

In 1988, the National Family Partnership coordinated the first National Red Ribbon Week in tribute to Camarena. President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan served as honorary chairpersons of the observance.

The national agency estimates that more than 80 million people participate in Red Ribbon events each year.

DEA agents visiting Timber Ridge this month explained to students about the duties and responsibilities of DEA agents. The youngsters were shown the agents’ vehicles, and allowed to try on their equipment.

To learn more about the annual Red Ribbon Week campaign, visit www.redribboncoalition.com.