December 30, 2003, 07:58 EST
Guard supports Weed and Seed Program
By Lt. Col. Chester
RICHMOND, Va. - The Virginia National Guard prides itself on service to community, commonwealth, and country. One of the ways the Virginia National Guard serves the community is by supporting the “Weed and Seed” program in Richmond.
Weed & Seed is a federally funded program administered through the U.S. Department of Justice. The focus of Weed & Seed is to “weed out” violent behavior and criminal activity through law enforcement and effective community policing approaches which reduce disorder and engage citizens in preventing crime and to “seed” the community through the implementation of prevention, intervention, economic revitalization and neighborhood restoration that empower residents and transform communities.
Presently, the Seed component of Weed & Seed serves the Blackwell, Gilpin and Whitcomb communities in Richmond. The program supports various youth and adult programs, including tutorial programs for youth and adults, substance counseling, and after school programs. This year Phillip Morris sponsored the Weed and Seed Christmas program which helped to ensure a Merry Christmas for 24 families in the Whitcomb community.
At the kick off for the distribution of the Christmas gifts in the Whitcomb community Nancy Brooks, Acting Executive Director of Weed and Seed, thanked all the program partners. During the kick off ceremony Maj. Gen. Claude Williams pointed out that the Virginia National Guard budgeted over $2 mil to support the drug demand reduction program. The soldiers of Battery E, 111 th Field Artillery were also acknowledged for their effort in support of the Weed and Seed program.
The delivery of these gifts assured that 24 Richmond families will have a brighter holiday that what they might otherwise have had this year. These soldiers volunteered their own time and gave their own effort to help deliver gifts to 24 families. They took time out of their own busy holiday schedules and time away from their families and jobs to give back to their community. The quality of life in our communities continues to be improved through their example.
Besides serving the community, the Virginia Guard has been of service to commonwealth and country. In the last three years soldiers and airmen have served across this nation and around the World in support of Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Air Expeditionary Forces, and in the Balkans enforcing the Dayton Peace Accord.
Soldiers and airmen of the Virginia National Guard were “on point” for the commonwealth when they answered Governor Mark Warner's call to duty in the wake of destruction left by Hurricane Isabel this past September. Over 1,110 solders and airmen assisted in recovery efforts that ranged from clearing over 400 miles of roads; distributing water and ice; and securing property to name just a few of their missions.
The Virginia National Guard is committed to improving our quality of life in the Old Dominion. The Drug Demand Reduction program which works to “get the word out” to young people about the dangers of substance abuse and assists law enforcement agencies in removing illegal drugs from our communities is all about improving the quality of life in our communities.