The Emerald Coast Young Marines are among the nation's top Young Marines units that encourage drug-free communities. Now, the organization has an award to recognize the achievement.
The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Young Marines youth organization's Enrique "Kiki" Camarena Award honors six units — one award per division — for drug demand reduction efforts through community education and peer-to-peer role modeling.
Emerald Coast Young Marines, of Crestview, is the Division 3 winner.
Other winners include: Division 1, Westover Young Marines, Chicopee, Mass.; Division 2, LCpl Caleb Powers Young Marines, Fredericksburg, Va.; Division 4, Pikes Peak Young Marines, Colorado Springs, Colo.; Division 5, Lapeer County Young Marines, Attica, Mich.; and Division 6, East Valley Young Marines, Mesa, Ariz.
The awards were presented June 5 at the Young Marines annual Adult Leaders’ Conference in Washington D.C.
“The DEA first met with the Young Marines a few years ago,” Tammy Simpson, drug prevention program manager of the DEA’s Drug Demand Reduction Section, said. “We were so impressed with the Young Marines’ initiative when communicating with peers and others about the dangers associated with using drugs. We, at the DEA, congratulate the winning units, and we appreciate the Young Marines' efforts to educate the community and increase awareness about the drug problem.”
Units were judged on drug demand reduction hours, curriculum and the steps taken to reach out to the community to include peers and others.
The Young Marines is a national non-profit 501c(3) youth education and service program for boys and girls, age 8 through completion of high school.
The organization promotes members' mental, moral and physical development and teaches leadership, teamwork and self-discipline.
The Enrique "Kiki" Camarena Awardcommemorates a DEA special agent and Marine who worked in Mexico and came dangerously close to exposing the top leaders of a multi-billion drug pipeline. He was abducted and brutally murdered in 1985 at age 37.