The 23rd annual Plymouth County Drug and Alcohol Resistance Education (DARE) Summer Program may be a tough one to top. During the week, campers and staff watched an apparently-successful attempt to set a Guinness World Record while learning leadership and good choices, playing and interacting with new friends.
“The police officers and school resource officers would not be here but for the leadership of the Plymouth County police chiefs, many of whom are here today,” said Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz.
This year, about 50 officers in 23 departments participated, a record number, Cruz noted.
Speaking of records, Mark Kenny of Plymouth has long entertained by walking on his hands, but this week he not only brought his talent to DARE Camp on Thursday, July 27 — water day. He achieved what appears to be a new world record.
Inverted sprinting or walking on your hands while pulling a car was the challenge he set out to attain. Now, in coming weeks, officials from the Guinness Book Of Worlds Records will review video and authenticity of his stunt.
With nearly 500 campers and staff present along with an onslaught of police officers and media he will have plenty of documentation.
Kenny’s family was present to witness their dad’s success. His wife Mary, sons Will, 11, and Johnny, 15 and daughter Katie, 13, were among the crowd cheering, “Move That Car!”
The momentum of the crowd helped him get rolling, said Kenny who pulled a Cooper, which weighs approximately 2,800 pounds attached by a tether around his waist five meters while he walked on his hands, pulling it.
“I want to thank Mark for letting you guys be part of this special event,” Cruz said during his remarks at the Friday, July 28 graduation ceremony.
He has been walking on his hands for 20 years, exercises everyday with resistance and pushing weighted sleds and plans to continue using his talents.
Another impressive personal achievement was saluted during Friday’s graduation ceremony, a Duxbury girl was honored for her honesty in turning in a $20 bill she found under the bleachers in the WHRHS gym on the first day of camp.
“We try to teach the kids to make life decisions, to be responsible, be respectful and to be honest,” said Hanson DARE and School Resource Officer William Frazier. Hanson is the event’s host community.
Frazier had told her the $20 was hers if no one claimed it at the end of the day. He never saw her again until he called for her to come claim it at the graduation ceremony.
“That says a lot about her, her family and her community,” Frazier said. “So, where are you? Come up and get your $20.”
Frazier thanked Hanson Police Chief Michael Miksch for letting him be part of the DARE program as well as Whitman Chief Scott Benton and his town’s DARE officer Kevin Harrington and WHRSD officials for their efforts in support of the event. Hanson Fire Chief Jerome Thompson Jr. was also lauded for his department’s help in making the camp’s popular water day possible.
More than 20 police departments, the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department and the Massasoit Community College Police Department participated in the camp this year.
“These officers come to camp every day and give your child 110 percent,” Frazier told parents attending the graduation ceremony. “This camp does not exist without the extraordinary participation and dedication of each of these officers.”
Leadership service awards were presented to three campers in the name of police officers who have passed after careers dedicated to their communities — Robert Quigley and Helen Gray of Marshfield Police and Gerald Mont of Whitman Police. Camper Ava Dant was also honored for her work during the year to raise funds to make it possible for kids who might not be able to afford it to attend camp.
Cruz gave special thanks to the work of police and sheriff department officials whose work to control drug trafficking, especially of opiates, putting the money seized from drug dealers back to work in the DARE program to fight future drug problems through programs like the annual camp. He also thanked the nearly 20 businesses who donated food for lunches and snacks provided to campers during the week. The event concluded with the introduction of the 24 DARE camper teams, of which the top three winners of the team cheer competition had the opportunity to demonstrate their rhymes.