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Watauga County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Dee Dee Rominger, second from left, and D.A.R.E. officer
Barry Adams, far right, eat lunch with Mabel School second-graders Nora Russom, Natalie Hill
and Faith Hodges. Anna Oakes | Watauga Democrat

Originally published: 2013-10-25 12:35:09
Last modified: 2013-10-25 12:35:54

Local heroes visit Mabel for Red Ribbon Week

by Anna Oakes

Mabel Elementary School students on Thursday celebrated the heroes of their community by eating lunch with more than 20 sheriff's deputies, medics and other emergency personnel.

"It's good for kids to see them in a positive manner," said Christy Welch, Mabel School counselor.

Mabel holds the Heroes Luncheon each year in conjunction with Red Ribbon Week, a national observation to educate youth about the harms of drugs and encourage participation in drug prevention activities. This year's theme at Mabel is "Drugs are Scary."

Students in all grades helped design bulletin board displays based on the theme and their current studies. Earlier in the week, students participated in a "Hat Day" fundraiser to raise money for the Pat Baker Scholarship Fund. Baker, the former Watauga County Schools D.A.R.E. officer and 2009 North Carolina D.A.R.E. Officer of the Year, died in 2010 at the age of 53.

On Thursday, students were encouraged to dress up as their favorite local hero, and a number of students donned police and military uniforms and hats. A group of the "heroes" judged the bulletin boards following lunch.

For more information about the Red Ribbon Campaign, visit

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