There was a lot to be loud and proud about last week at the Drug and Alcohol Resistance Education (DARE) Summer Program held at host school Whitman-Hanson July 25-28 as more than 600 campers cheered for their teams and took over the grounds for fun and education in the sun.
With the temperature reaching 90 degrees nearly all week, campers had both in and outdoor activities where special guest performers and educators spoke to them about DARE and avoiding situations or substances that could potentially cause them harm.
Lead Camp Organizer Peter Veneto spoke to families, campers and staff at the closing ceremony on Friday as campers from 20 of the 27 communities within Plymouth County gathered to share a week of non-stop fun. The camp celebrated its 22nd year in Plymouth County and is sponsored by Plymouth County D.A Timothy J. Cruz., The Plymouth County Police Chiefs and Drug education and resource officers.
“Your behavior was fantastic,” Veneto said. “As campers you have earned your T-shirts — wear them proudly as leaders in the community. Let your friends know who you are: Leaders of a drug-free community. Be proud of yourselves.”
Host town DARE Officer Billy Frazier of Hanson asked for a moment of silence honoring law enforcement officers slain in the line of duty across the United States over past few months, as well as three former DARE Officers who have passed away since the camp was established.
Awards honoring the former DARE Officers were presented to Peer Leader Liz Short of Hanson’s Team 5 in memory of Officer Robert Quigley of the Marshfield Police Department, student service awards were presented to Emma Wojag of Hanson in memory of Helen Gray and Brayden Ferguson of Whitman was presented with a student service award in memory of Officer Gerald Mont of Whitman police.
District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz pledged his efforts to continue the camp and reminded campers that it took many officers, and donations of food, time, money and most of the things they were able to participate in were due to the generosity of so many local companies.
Cruz intends to see the camp grow and eventually have all 27 communities in Plymouth County have resource officers and participate in the camp.
On Tuesday, July 26 Cruz and Sherriff McDonald presented two Hanson natives — Chief Warrant 3 pilot Scott Landis and Anthony Celia — with recognition awards for their decade of service in the Army flying Black Hawk helicopters. The pair talked with campers after landing on the soccer field, giving a tour of equipment and allowing the kids to explore the aircraft.
DARE Camp organizers thanked Fire Chief Jerome Thompson Jr. and the Hanson Fire Department for its help in making the Thursday, July 28 foam and water day a success as well as the following Plymouth County police chiefs: Christopher Delmonte of Bridgewater; John Crowley of Brockton; Marc Duphily of Carver; Matthew Clancy of Duxbury; Scott Allen of East Bridgewater; Walter Sweeney of Hanover; Michael Miksch of Hanson; Glenn Olsson of Hingham; Robert Sawtelle of Hull; Frank Alivihiera of Lakeville; Philip Tavarers of Marshfield; Theodore Ross of Norwell; Richard Wall of Pembroke; Michael Botieri of Plymouth; Patrick Dillon of Plympton; John Llewellyn of Rockland; Michael Stewart of Scituate; Kevin Walsh of Wareham; Victor Flaherty of West Bridgewater and Scott Benton of Whitman. Thanks were also extended to Chief Christopher Cummings of the Massasoit Community College Police and Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph McDonald Jr.