Community partners were thanked at the first annual Summer Prevention Celebration, hosted Aug. 22, by the Jefferson County Prevention Task Force and BestCare Treatment Services.
Community members who helped the Prevention Task Force work on projects including, prescription drug dropoff boxes, Prom Perfect, drug education programs in the schools, a marijuana media campaign, bullying prevention, the Text a Tip Line, and more, were treated to a hamburger barbecue luncheon.
Awards were also presented to community partners who went the extra mile this year.
"We can't do prevention work without community partners," said prevention specialist Mandi Puckett, noting it takes everyone working together to change community norms for the better.
The awards were presented by BestCare executive director Rick Treleaven, and BestCare prevention specialists Puckett, Cindy Brockett and Edgar Pineda.
The awards were: Madras Youth Advocate of the Year, Alexsis Penaloza, and Culver Youth Advocate of the year, Sabrina Navarro.
Pineda noted that the youth leaders led Prom Perfect, an effort to prevent underage drinking and drug use during prom. Parents were encouraged to call or text their teens the night of prom and tell them to be safe.
"I'm proud to say there were no MIP (minor in possession) citations issued during prom this year," Pineda announced.
The Local Community Partner of the Year was Sheriff Jim Adkins who agreed to keep a prescription drug dropoff box at the sheriff's office.
"I believe as leaders we've got to step up, even though it may not be popular, and do something better for our community," Adkins said, noting he had to convince his staff about the dropbox. Adkins also monitors the Text a Tip Line.
The State Partner of the Year award went to State Rep. John Huffman, who was not able to attend, but has supported local prevention efforts.
"He really does care," Puckett said, relating, "He attended our bullying conference and shared that he was bullied as a kid for being overweight."
The Federal Partner of the Year was the National Guard Counter Drug Team of Matt Simmons and Nathan Long, who have taught a "Counter-Drug Program" to seventh and eighth graders at Jefferson County Middle School for three years.
Sonya Littledeer-Evans was named the Prevention Promoter of the Year for her work at the juvenile department, and establishing the Girls Advisory Board to help build girls' self-esteem.
The Business of the Year was the Madras Pioneer, for helping promote prevention events in the paper, and prevention education by collaborating on ad campaigns.
The Prevention Champion of the Year was Deer Ridge Correctional Facility food services manager Richard Ladeby, who, as usual, was busy grilling hamburgers when his award was announced. "He's always there through thick and thin, all the time, and is a jack of all trades," Puckett said.
"When Deer Ridge located here, we promised to get involved in the community," Ladeby said of his extensive volunteerism, adding, "I have a passion for our kids and for seniors."
Besides serving on the Prevention Task Force and Madras City Council, Ladeby helped organize a Neighborhood Watch program, and a food service program for the Madras senior center in which food is cooked at the prison kitchen and transported to the senior center.
Another Deer Ridge employee, Bart Carpenter, now retired, received the Prevention Citizen of the Year award. Carpenter is the vice chairman of the Prevention Task Force and enjoys the work.
"I worked 30 years in corrections, and after I retired I wanted to work in a positive environment," he noted.
The Bullying Prevention Advocate of the Year was JCMS counselor Amy Gervais, and the Prevention Innovator of the Year was former Peace Corps volunteer Erin Tofte.
In a surprise presentation, Treleaven announced an Award of Excellence was being awarded to prevention educator Cindy Brockett, who he said was "known for her care and concern and her joyful service. Last year, she served 450 elementary and high school youth."
"I feel very blessed to be part of it. I love my job," Brockett said.