19th AW DDRP wins DoD award 2 years in a row

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jayden Ford
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness announced the 19th Airlift Wing Drug Demand Reduction Program as the winner of the 30th annual Secretary of Defense Community Drug Awareness Award, which is given to one installation from each military branch, making Little Rock Air Force Base the 2020 U.S. Air Force category winner for the second year in a row.

The Red Ribbon Award highlights all the prevention efforts — such as this year’s Red Ribbon Week campaign and expansion in annual substance abuse prevention efforts that have been made by the DDRP’s joint service and multiagency coalition, all while adhering to proper mitigation measures for COVID-19.

Expanding on last year’s successes, the DDR team held a Red Ribbon Week campaign in which they procured Red Ribbon Week products that were then disseminated to 13 schools across central Arkansas during assemblies and gave children information on the deterrence of drug use and abuse.

“Winning two years in a row is a testimony to our community partnerships,” said Sharise Holland, DDR program manager. “Every year we try and partner with different agencies like the Drug Enforcement Administration, Attorney General's office, and the Arkansas Education Office. These partnerships are invaluable to our operations and keep us at the leading edge of drug prevention efforts.”

One of the team’s largest obstacles was finding a way to overcome barriers that were brought about by the novel coronavirus.

“COVID-19 has made it very challenging to operate the way we are used to,” Holland said. “To still be able to perform our mission during COVID-19, we packaged our efforts into a virtual campaign which allowed us to still operate and disseminate vital information even during these challenging times.”

After finding a balance between in-person and virtual events, the team has now settled into their new way of disseminating that information.

“We have now moved into a sustainment phase,” Holland said. “Now that we've surpassed the initial onset phases of the virus, we are working to sustain the momentum we’ve gained and keep moving forward.”

As the DDR team looks back on their two previous victories, they are already planning for what is to come and hope to build an even stronger program in the next year.

“We are going to have a plan set for both contingencies so we are prepared to go back into the schools if the virus allows and if not, we can continue our virtual events,” Holland said.  “We also hope to continue to expand our program even further in order to reach more children in schools of the outskirts of Central Arkansas.”

Holland explained that as the operations of the DDR team grow, they look forward to growing their connections and reaching even more children across the state of Arkansas.

“I would just like to say thank you to the community for opening their doors and letting LRAFB come in and bring awareness to the children of central Arkansas,” Holland said. “It's been fun and we are looking forward to more years of celebrating Red Ribbon Week with everyone.”