Manassas Young Marines wins Fulcrum Shield from Department of Defense for anti-drug education
The Department of Defense (DoD) selected the Manassas Young Marines from Manassas, Virginia, as this year’s winner of the 2020 Fulcrum Shield Award. The award is given annually by the DoD and recognizes military-affiliated youth organizations around the world that have made intensive efforts at spreading anti-drug messages in local communities.
“We are extremely honored and proud of this recognition,” said Nick Pecci, unit commander of the Manassas Young Marines. “I would like to thank our youth members and adult volunteers, particularly Helia Maritato who is the Manassas XO/DDR Officer and Adjutant Lisa Pecci, for their hard work and dedication to the program.”
“I know the many hours our Young Marines have logged for drug demand prevention and community service,” said Lisa Pecci. “Our Young Marines take their core values to heart, and it shows every day. I could not be prouder of each of our Young Marines.”
The unit has 19 youth members and seven registered adult volunteers. The unit amassed 450 hours of drug demand reduction (DDR) training and service in the local community. In addition, community service hours totaled 720 last year.
“The partnerships that we have formed with the American Legion, VFW, Law Enforcement, and military installations have allowed us to impact in excess of 30,000 children, parents, and community members throughout 2019,” Pecci said. “Our Young Marines are positive role models in the schools, religious congregations, and the community.”
Manassas Young Marines were the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Kiki Camarena Award winners for its division in 2017, 2018, and 2020. The DEA award honors Young Marines units for drug demand reduction efforts through community education and peer-to-peer role modeling.
"I cannot fully express how proud I am of our Young Marines for their hard work and dedication,” said Helia Maritato. “Our Young Marines and staff worked extremely hard and it is great that their hard work is recognized. This is a great honor and we look forward to continuing to spread the word of living healthy and drug-free lives."
In 2014, the Young Marines unveiled "Closing the Gate on Drugs" on a national scale. It consists of lessons that help young people learn and practice new skills and strategies for resisting the gateway drugs. These "gateway drugs" include tobacco, alcohol, inhalant abuse, marijuana and over the counter or prescription medication.
"We are extremely proud of Manassas Young Marines for their remarkable efforts in educating the local community on the dangers of drugs," said Col. William P. Davis USMC (Ret), national executive director and CEO of the Young Marines. "Their message reached thousands of adults and youth and made a real impact that extends beyond just our members. The engagement by the Young Marines and the interaction with so many community members and leaders were fantastic.”
The Manassas Young Marines was founded in 2002. Normally the unit meets at the American Legion Post 10, 9950 Cockrell Road, Manassas, Virginia, but because of the pandemic, current meetings are virtual.
About the Young Marines
The Young Marines is a national non-profit 501c (3) youth education and service program for boys and girls, age eight through the completion of high school. The Young Marines promotes the mental, moral, and physical development of its members. The program focuses on teaching the values of leadership, teamwork, and self-discipline, so its members can live and promote a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.
Since the Young Marines' humble beginnings in 1959 with one unit and a handful of boys, the organization has grown to over 235 units with 8,000 youth and 2,500 adult volunteers in 40 states, the District of Columbia, Japan, and affiliates in a host of other countries.
For more information, visit the official website at: https://www.YoungMarines.com.
Media Contact: Andy Richardson
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