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Red Ribbon Week originated as a tribute to Special Agent Enrique "Kiki" S. Camarena, a narcotics agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration. In 1985, Mr. Camarena was kidnapped and murdered by drug traffickers in Guadalajara, Mexico. Kiki's death enraged many Americans in his hometown of Calexico, California, and they began to wear red ribbons to commemorate his sacrifice. The anti-drug message spread quickly, and in 1988, the National Family Partnership took the Red Ribbon Celebration nationwide. The focus of the celebration is to educate individuals, families, and communities on the destructive effects of drugs and the positive life choices available..
In 1990, the Department of Defense (DoD) joined in the national effort by commencing an award program to encourage service members to keep communities drug-free and to recognize outstanding outreach programs. Each year, one winner is selected from each Service, the National Guard, and participating Defense Agencies to receive the Secretary of Defense's Community Drug Awareness Award. This award is presented to the military installation or program from each of these organizations with the best anti-drug program for that year.
In 2001, the Fulcrum Shield Award was established to recognize the efforts of independent military-affiliated youth organizations that have successfully assisted in articulating the anti-drug message throughout their community.
Click on the links in the box at the right for information on the DoD Red Ribbon Week activities, including information on the nomination process and winners.