Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Washington State Prevention Summit
October 8, 1999
AWARDING EXCELLENCE IN SUBSTANCE ABUSE PREVENTION
Please be seated and continue enjoying this great lunch. I want to thank Lyle Quasim for that introduction, but most of all I want to thank all of you for being here at this Fifteenth Annual Washington State Substance Abuse Prevention Summit. Before we get underway, I really want to thank and salute a lot of young people who are here. They are all in their teens and they are in the audience with us today.
I’d like them to stand up. You young people in the front, why don’t you stand up? You know who you are! Stand up! That’s right! Thank you for not smoking. And you in the back? Stand up! Thank you for saying no when your friends offer you marijuana. Thank you. Those of you in the middle, stand up and accept our thanks for not drinking alcohol! Those of you on my right, stand up and accept our thanks for not smoking crack or shooting heroin. You over there on the left side stand up and accept our thanks for not chewing tobacco. All young people in the audience please stand up and accept our thanks. Thank you all for keeping your bodies clean and your minds free. And thank you all for caring enough about your peers to be here and to be part of the Prevention Summit.
We are all committed to preventing substance abuse for a lot of different reasons. We’ve seen its effect on our friends and members of our families. We’ve seen it in our own communities. Some of us have just read about the effects and just know how important it is in term of our own physical and mental health. Just before the introductions, we heard about the death of Trooper Saunders in the Tri-Cities area. This message of drug and alcohol abuse becomes more personal and closer to home. We don’t know all of the facts yet, but Trooper Saunders pulled over a car last night, and just as he was getting out of the patrol car he was shot several times. The suspect in this particular case had just been released from jail earlier that day after posting bail or bond on drug charges. So we know again the harsh truth of the devestating impact of drugs and alcohol and substance abuse on our communities and people near and dear to us. So it doesn’t matter why or how we’re committed. What matters is that we’re all here to do something about it; to be part of the solution.
Washington is built on the strength of people like you. People from all parts of the state, of all ages, who work tirelessly to help make Washington a better place to live, to work, and to raise a family.
Addiction is ugly. It hurts the soul. The work you—both young people and adults—do to keep other people drug-free is crucial. And good for the soul of our state.
We’re working like crazy in Olympia to make our education system the best in the country; to make sure that every child from birth through college has a safe and stimulating environment in which to learn. But what good is education if a student is too high to learn, or losing too many brain cells to alcohol to retain knowledge and journey to wisdom?
I’m honored to be here today, to celebrate your efforts in this crusade—in this war against substance abuse which is taking its toll on our friends, our families, and our communities.
But today, we’re also here to present awards for some outstanding efforts. This is the first time that Washington has presented the Exemplary Substance Abuse Prevention Awards and selecting the recipients from outstanding organizations and individuals across our state has been very, very difficult. So many programs and individuals go the extra mile. But today’s recipients have, I think, gone well beyond the extra mile—they are the marathoners.
As I name your organization, please send a representative to the stage to accept your award.
First, The Ruth Dykeman Children’s Center based in Seattle. The Dykeman Center concentrates on meeting the specific needs in Cambodian and Latino communities. They are lauded for helping not only to curb substance abuse, but also for helping to preserve traditions and cultures. Let’s give a big round of applause.
The second recipient is the Minority Youth Leadership Program in Vancouver. They have worked hard to involve minority youth in their youth-enrichment, substance abuse and violence prevention program. They are committed to increased bonding between the community and schools, helping to make Washington State One Washington. Let’s give another big round of applause.
The third recipient is Stonewall Recovery Services in Seattle. Please come on up. Stonewall Recovery provides youth prevention services with a targeted focus on sexual minority populations. Stonewall has excelled and is known for its one-on-one mentoring.
The next award goes to the Teen Mentor Program of Port Orchard. The Teen Mentor Program allows teens to use their talents and skills as friends and role models for younger children who need extra attention in the war against substance abuse.
The final organization to receive an award is the Tulalip Mentoring Program of Marysville. Please join us on the stage. The Tulalip Mentoring Program was created to provide adult mentors for the mostly Native American students at the Tulalip Option Alternative School. It’s great to provide that mentorship and partnership.
We’ve just recognized some outstanding organizations in our state. Now we’d like to recognize some individuals for their efforts in combatting substance abuse among young people. Trying to pick out a few individuals was tough, but these individuals have truly stood out among so many worthy activists.
Let’s present our first award to Terrie Austin from Chattaroy. Terrie is tireless. She’s implemented programs from kindergarten through the twelfth grade. She’s known for her innovative and for always being open to helping her peers in other school districts or counties. She empowers kids to do for themselves. We value her.
The second individual is Oscar Ochoa from Moses Lake. Oscar works in social services but he is also a youth pastor for a local church. And when Oscar recognized that disadvantaged young people wanted to participate in the activities he organized, but they couldn’t get there, Oscar went out and bought a bus on his own. He bought a beater bus. He drives around in this bus—Oscar’s Bus—picking up kids. The kids know Oscar’s bus is a safe place and they are always welcome. Thank you very much, Oscar.
Our next recipient is Earlyse Swift, the Executive Director of TOGETHER! of Lacey. Earlyse started TOGETHER! as a one woman show. Her reputation is exemplary. Her name is synonymous with substance abuse prevention.
The next recipient is Toni Lee from University Place, please come on up. Toni is known for her problem-solving abilities, her follow-through, her approach, her attention to detail, and her personality.
And finally, tonight, we have two special awards to present. These are two individuals our selection committee just could not stop thinking about during the selection process.
The first is Cheryl Hansen from Seattle. Cheryl, come on up here. Cheryl has been an enormous, tireless, aggressive force. She never seems to slow down. Her enthusiasm and motivation have moved mountains.
The second is Cindy Klaveano from Garfield County. Cindy, come on up. Cindy has been involved in substance abuse prevention for almost twenty years! She’s known as a supportive, loving, nurturing, empowering mother-type. Cindy is retiring and will be missed. Please know we value the work you have done.
To all award recipients, congratulations. Thank you very much.