Custer students recognized for drug-free message - KOTA Territory News

Custer students recognized for drug-free message

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Custer Elementary School students create a drug-free message on Oct. 5, 2012, in Custer, S.D (courtesy photo) Custer Elementary School students create a drug-free message on Oct. 5, 2012, in Custer, S.D (courtesy photo)
Aiden Suelflow, left, 7, and Dylan Frank, 5, hold the Red Ribbon Week photo presented to their class by South Dakota National Guard pilots (courtesy photo) Aiden Suelflow, left, 7, and Dylan Frank, 5, hold the Red Ribbon Week photo presented to their class by South Dakota National Guard pilots (courtesy photo)
SDNG pilots Chief Warrant Officer 4 Christian Frank, left, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Dean Sueflow present an aerial photo to Custer Elementary School students on Oct. 25, 2012 (courtesy photo) SDNG pilots Chief Warrant Officer 4 Christian Frank, left, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Dean Sueflow present an aerial photo to Custer Elementary School students on Oct. 25, 2012 (courtesy photo)

News release by SD National Guard

Custer Elementary School students were recognized by two South Dakota National Guard helicopter pilots Oct. 25 for their creative drug-free message during the National Guard's annual Red Ribbon Week campaign in October.
 
Pilots Chief Warrant Officer 4 Christian Frank and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Dean Sueflow presented the students with an aerial photo of the students outside forming a Custer Wildcat paw, the school's mascot.

Frank was one of the pilots who flew an OH-58 helicopter over Custer Elementary. Frank and Sueflow were asked by the Guard's Counterdrug program to present the photo to the school, which also includes their sons.

"Since we are the Custer Wildcats we decided to design a paw," said Joey Kortemeyer, physical education teacher. "Our theme for Red Ribbon Week was PAWS-itively drug free."

Red Ribbon Week is the nation's oldest and largest drug prevention program, reaching millions of American students every year.  

This year, the S.D. Guard's Counterdrug program organized Red Ribbon Week events with 43 western South Dakota schools. One of the events is the drug-free flyover, where students make a design of a drug-free message with their bodies and then have the message photographed from the air by the Guard. The students also receive a briefing from Guard members on living a drug-free life.

"We saw it as an opportunity to make this presentation special," said Frank. "I told the students that they did a great job of putting together the Wildcat paw. It takes teamwork to do what they did, and in life it is important to work as a team – whether that is sitting in the classroom or at home helping the family."

"This was great for the students to meet the pilots, otherwise they never meet who is flying the helicopter," said Kortemeyer. "To make this connection with the kids showed them that dads and regular people in our community are making positive choices. You do not have to be a superhero to be successful."

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