Schoolchildren across the United States will get new red ribbons from employees of Con-way Inc. this week, as the company participates in its 18th observance of the National Family Partnership and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration National Red Ribbon Week. During the annual campaign, Con-way employees will deliver messages aimed at building awareness in young Americans of the dangers of drug use and encouraging its prevention.
“It has never been more important to talk to young people about how drugs destroy lives and encourage them to choose safety and good health instead,” says Douglas Stotlar, president and chief executive officer of San Mateo, Calif.-based Con-way Inc. “We are pleased to be longtime supporters of Red Ribbon Week, and our employees enthusiastically participate every October.”
As part of Red Ribbon Week, Con-way employees will “adopt” local schools, where they will deliver red ribbons and give presentations on the perils of drugs, before formally asking students to pledge that they will live drug-free lives. This year, more than 200 employees will join the effort and deliver 550,000 ribbons to nearly 700 schools nationwide. Con-way has supported Red Ribbon Week since 1990.
Each adopted school also will display a poster featuring a young, healthy and drug-free role model – 20-year-old NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series rookie Colin Braun, who drives the No. 6 Con-way Freight Ford F-150 for Roush Fenway Racing in the yearlong series. Braun has driven with Con-way Freight sponsorship since 2007.
The oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the nation, Red Ribbon Week began in 1985 to honor the memory of a U.S. DEA agent murdered by drug traffickers that year. Enrique “Kiki” Camarena had been working undercover and was close to exposing a multimillion-dollar drug operation in Mexico at the time of his death. His congressman and a high school friend soon created what they called Camarena Clubs aimed at drug prevention, using red ribbons as symbols of the effort. By 1988, those early activities had grown into the national Red Ribbon Week initiative, with President Ronald and First Lady Nancy Reagan as its first honorary chairs. Today, millions of students participate in Red Ribbon activities in late October of every year.