Sixth grade students at Sheppard Elementary got a big surprise during a drug free presentation when Brig. Gen. Michael Fantini, 82d TRW Commander, dressed as Transformers Bumblebee and Technical Sgt. Olsen Betron dressed as Iron Man came out to support Red Ribbon week on Oct. 26. This year's Red Ribbon Week theme is, "The Best Me is Drug Free." (U.S. Air Force Photo/Kimberly Parker).
Senior Airman Michael Tryon and Technical Sgt. Olsen Betron (dressed as Iron Man) explain the effects of tobacco to a group of sixth grade students during Red Ribbon week at Sheppard Elementary School. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Kimberly Parker)
Senior Airman James Beaver explains the negative effects of binge drinking and substance abuse to a group of sixth grade students at Sheppard Elementary School on Oct. 26 during Red Ribbon week. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Kimberly Parker).
Senior Airman Stephanie Cortez explains what harmful drugs are and the potential negative effects to a group of sixth grade students at Sheppard Elementary school during Red Ribbon week. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Kimberly Parker).
by Kimberly Parker
82nd Training Wing Public Affairs
10/30/2012 - SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The 82nd Medical Group's Alcohol and Drug Prevention (ADAPT) program partnered with Sheppard Elementary and John Tower Elementary in support of Red Ribbon week happening Oct. 23-31.
This year's national theme is, "The Best Me is Drug Free." ADAPT put together interactive, informational stations covering topics such as alcohol, tobacco, drugs and peer pressure for students in kindergarten through sixth grade.
"It is really important to relate the material to each age group and to keep them tuned in," said Senior Airman Stephanie Cortez, 82nd Medical Operations Squadron mental health technician.
Cortez related the importance of staying healthy and drug free to a group of sixth graders by asking them what they wanted to be when they grow up. President, fashion designer, football player and hero were some of the answers kids yelled out.
"In order to achieve your future goals you have to be the best you that you can be and that means not using harmful drugs," Cortez said.
Sheppard Elementary got an extra special visit from two iconic superheroes, Iron Man and Transformers Bumblebee. The costumes were hand made by Tech. Sgt. Olsen Betron and were worn by Betron (Iron Man) and Brig. Gen. Michael Fantini, 82d Training Wing Commander (Bumblebee).
"The students really enjoyed seeing some of their favorite superheroes and it helped to reinforce the importance of a drug free lifestyle by seeing these heroes take a stand against drugs," said Captain Jaime Pons, 82d Medical Operations Squadron ADAPT Element Chief.
The hope of the event is to come together to keep children, families and the community drug free.
"The ultimate goal is to be a leader and role model for these kids and to inspire them to make positive, healthy choices so they can be the next president or superhero" Pons said.
After each student visited the stations, they were given a goodie bag with items such a red bracelet and a "Proud to be drug free" badge so they could each visibly show their commitment to being drug free.
Red Ribbon week was established by Congress in 1988 in honor of a Drug Enforcement Administration agent killed by drug traffickers three years prior. The week is sponsored by the National Family Partnership and the red ribbon is a symbol of intolerance towards drugs and a commitment to staying drug free.