News: SD Guard Counterdrug Program receives national award
Story by Tech. Sgt. Betty Squatrito-Martin
WASHINGTON – The South Dakota National Guard Counterdrug Program’s Civil Operations Team was awarded the National Power of Partners Award at the Army and Navy Club in Washington, D.C., Feb. 6.
The award recognizes organizations and community groups for their efforts to create a “drug-free” message by working together with other agencies toward a common goal.
“The Civil Operations Team's mission is to create partnerships with state and community groups and individuals to help ensure South Dakota is a safer, healthier place to live,” said Master Sgt. Kristi Palmer, SDNG’s Civil Operations noncommissioned officer in charge. “Our program thrives through embracing the importance of working to create community coalitions. We are not only trying to target the youth, but the whole community."
The Civil Operations Team actively participates in community-based programs and projects by providing educational outreach to students throughout the state. They also support other events as well, such as flyovers of local schools to photograph their students’ Red Ribbon Week gatherings and supporting other groups that strive to improve the community.
“I was shocked when the National Family Partnership called. This award shows that the fruits of what we do are seen even beyond our local community,” said Palmer “It shows the success and power of the local Red Ribbon Campaign as a whole.”
However, national recognition is not new to the SDNG Counterdrug Program. Just last year, the program received the 2012 Secretary of Defense Community Drug Awareness Award during a Department of Defense Red Ribbon ceremony at the Hall of Heroes in the Pentagon. The award recognized them as one of the best Drug Demand Reduction programs in the military for its effort in promoting its support of outreach and prevention programs within its communities.
“I am extremely proud of our counter drug program for being selected for this award,” said Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch, adjutant general of the SDNG. “Their hard work and high standards serve as an example to us all.”
The SDNG Counterdrug program started in 1996, as a one Soldier operation, with the mission of teaching the negative effects of bad choices and decisions, tobacco use, alcohol use, marijuana use and meth use.