Bush Honors ‘Hometown Heroes’ in Drug War
WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Bush paid tribute Wednesday to 28 ″hometown heroes″ who he said are helping America win its war against drugs.
The anti-drug crusaders from 21 major cities were feted at a White House luncheon where drug policy chief William Bennett introduced them as ″the soldiers and the sergeants and the lieutenants and the colonels″ in the fight.
″If we had 10,000 more like them, this (war) would be over in about six months,″ Bennett told Bush.
Bush said their efforts to drive drug dealers from their neighborhoods and cities had ″proved to America that this war can be won.″
″You are America’s hometown heroes - unconventional warriors, but this is an unconventional war,″ Bush said.
The president in recent months has seen firsthand the anti-drug projects of two of those cited - Alvin Brooks of the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime in Kansas City, Mo., and Erma Scales’ Acres Homes War on Drugs Committee in Houston.
″We’re going to keep on fighting against drugs and fighting for you, for your neighborhoods and most of all for the kids,″ Bush said.
Bush also lauded Bennett’s leadership.
″He’s out there in the trenches. He’s in the boardrooms. He’s everywhere. He’s like Batman,″ Bush said, evoking laughter.
The luncheon was held in the ornate Old Indian Treaty Room of the Old Executive Office Building. Bush left loaded with anti-drug T-shirts and other memorabilia. The honorees got M&Ms in boxes with the presidential seal.
In addition to Brooks and Scales, the honorees were:
-Jack Candelaria of the South San Jose Neighborhood Association in Albuquerque, N.M.
-Jaci Feldman of the National Training and Information Center, Bennie Meeks of the South Austin Coalition Community Council, and Alberto Trujillo of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s Crime Prevention Committee, all in Chicago.
-Inez Killingsworth of the Union Miles Development Corp., and the Rev. Jay Matthews of Mt. Sinai Baptist Church, both in Cleveland.
-Dorothy Davis of STOP Crime Watch in Dallas.
-Brenda LaBlanc, a citizen activist, and Margaret Toomey of Homes of Oakridge, both in Des Moines, Iowa.
-Ines Pegeas, a history teacher and president of Hartford Areas Rally Together in Hartford, Conn.
-Deloyd Parker Jr. of SHAPE (Self-Help for African People Through Education) Community Center in Houston.
-Philip Saldivar, principal of Jefferson High School in Los Angeles.
-Rev. T. O’Neal Crivens of Greater Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn.
-Jeffrey Miller, principal of Thomas Junior High School in Miami.
-Ruth Varnado of the Stop the Violence Movement in Milwaukee.
-Dalma DeLarosa of the Northwest Bronx Community Clergy Coalition in New York.
-Jo Anna Lougin of Oakland Community Organizations in Oakland, Calif.
-Dorothy Harell of the Abbottsford Crime Prevention program in Philadelphia.
-E. Ray Leary of Self-Enhancement Inc. in Portland, Ore.
-Cecilia Estrada, principal of Sherman Elementary School in San Diego.
-Joe Marshall of Omega Boys Club in San Francisco.
-Jean Veldwyk of the South Seattle Crime Prevention Council in Seattle.
-The Rev. Michael Lewis of Faith House Inc. in Tampa, Fla.
-Robert Alexander of the Living Stage Theatre Co., Barbara Humphris of Mothers on the Move Spiritually, and Edward Johnson of the Fairlawn Coalition, all of Washington, D.C.