The Roundup -

Kat Perkins to Perform During Red Ribbon Week


During Red Ribbon Week, October 23rd through 31st, Checkers, Inc. will be hosting a special event in Richland County. On October 27th, Kat Perkins from "The Voice" and Dr. Gary Dale, a former Montana State Medical Examiner will be special guests in Sidney as part of the annual nation-wide drug-free campaign.

From 1:00pm until 3:15pm, there will be an assembly at Sidney High School for area students including Sidney, Fairview, Lambert, and Savage where Perkins will speak about 'Dream it, Do it' encouraging students not to let anything get in the way of accomplishing their goals and the importance of self-respect. Dr. Dale will discuss the physical effects drugs have on the body, which can be long-term and often deadly. A community feed will be held at the Richland County Event Center beginning at 4:30pm catered by Judge Greg Mohr. At 6:15pm, Dr. Dale will address the community about the dangers of drug-use and Perkins will perform a 75 minute concert following that, performing hits such as Fearless. The goal of the committee is to provide the entire day free of charge. Free will donations are welcome.

The inspiration for this came when it was brought to Checkers' owner Janette McCollum's attention that findings from a 2015 Quest Diagnostics study showed that there had been a 9.3% national increase in the number of individuals who tested positive for drugs in the workforce, compared to a 4.7% increase in 2014. McCollum was then posed with the question of what to do. With Checkers as one of the workforce drug-testing agencies in the area, she felt the responsibility to get involved. With drug prevention weighing heavily on her, she began to brainstorm about what to do and when to do it.

"We knew we had to do something big to get everyone's attention; something that would stick in their heads to help them remember why we want and need to be drug free. Getting everyone in the community involved is a must; members of the community, the workforce, and our students," McCollum commented.

Red Ribbon Week seemed like an optimal time, a national drug-free campaign that gets students and parents involved in drug awareness. In 1985, DEA Agent Enrique Camarena was abducted and murdered and his family, friends, and neighbors began wearing red ribbons as a sign of commitment to raising awareness about the violence and destruction of illegal drugs. In 1988 the National Family Partnership sponsored the first national Red Ribbon Celebration, adopting Agent Camarena's belief that one person can make a difference.

Checkers, along with community officials, the DUI Taskforce, District II Alcohol & Drug, RSVP and the Richland County Health Department, the Foundation for Community Care, law enforcement, county and city officials, and local businesses are all working together to raise funds to cover the entire cost of the event, an estimated $30,000. Any extra funds available will be going to provide monthly awareness on through to the next Red Ribbon Week event in 2016 and to help with any prevention programs in the county.

There is still a lot to do in preparation for what will certainly be an inspiring and memorable event that carries such a powerful message. For anyone who would like to volunteer, contact RSVP at 406-433-2207; for anyone who would like to contribute, checks can be made out to the Foundation for Community Care but MUST be earmarked for Red Ribbon Week. Contributions can be dropped off or mailed to the Foundation for Community Care at 221 2nd St NW, Sidney, MT, 59270 or Checkers, Inc. at PO Box 899 Sidney, MT, 59270. All donations made to the Foundation for Community Care are greatly appreciated and are 501c3 tax deductible.


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