DEA Administration Agent Robert Chester, Chattanooga Fire Department Resources Chief Randy Jacks, General Sessions Court Judge Bob Moon and retired Chattanooga Police Department official Lee Stewart were honored at a luncheon on Wednesday at Second Missionary Baptist Church.
Russ Deadrick, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, was the keynote speaker at the summit, which is a part of "The National Red Ribbon Campaign" that is observed annually at the end of October.
The Red Ribbon Campaign originated in 1985 after DEA Special Agent Enrique "KI KI" Camarena was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by drug traffickers in Mexico.
According to Camilla Bibbs-Lee, director of the local Weed and Seed program, "The Red Ribbon was created as a symbol of intolerance to the use of drugs and as a commitment to living a drug-free healthy lifestyle."
Ms. Bibbs stated, "These individuals are recognized for their outstanding mentoring, community advocacy, and academic and career initiatives for many of the young people in our community."
It was the second annual summit held by the Hamilton County Coalition and the M.L. King Weed & Seed Program.
A number of young people were in attendance.
Taking part in a panel discussion were Judge Moon, Juvenile Court Judge Suzanne Bailey, Sheriff Jim Hammond, Jackie Jolley and County School Board member Rhonda Thurmond.
Each panel member addressed the audience which included several law enforcement officers, fire officials, national guardsmen, public officials and county school students. A question and answer period followed the panelist remarks. Students were encouraged to stay in school.
The summit is a part of a national event entitled, "The National Red Ribbon Campaign" and is observed annually at the end of October. This year, the campaign is being celebrated from Oct. 23-31.
Judge Moon, who spoke on behalf of the recipients, stated, "We are humbled and grateful for the opportunity to accept these honors on behalf of a brave young man, Agent, "Ki Ki" Camarena, for his commitment to duty and his supreme sacrifice to keep illegal drugs out of the United States. He and his family came to this country as migrant farm workers. Those who knew him repeatedly reference that he believed that one person can make a difference.
"We are grateful to the United States Justice Department, U.S. Attorney Russ Deadrick, lead agent Benjamin Scott and the Hamilton County Coalition for their tireless efforts to connect our young people to education and to positive life-style choices."
Community Outreach Director Hugh Reece, who also co-coordinated the program, stated, "On behalf of the Hamilton County Coaltion/M.L. King Weed and Seed, we are grateful to all of those individuals and agencies for supporting the coalition's purpose of collaborating with a diverse mix of youth, parents, merchants, non-profit organizations, and government entities to strengthen community capacity across the city of Chattanooga and Hamilton County by facilitating and sustaining safe, health and drug-free communities.