Prevention Program thanks its supporters

Prevention supporters said one goodbye and issued numerous thank yous on June 16 at an appreciation luncheon at China Gorge Restaurant sponsored by the Hood River county Prevention Department.

Joella Dethman, who retires this month after 22 years leading the program, received a heart-felt thank-you roast, but not after she and the Prevention Program’s Belinda Ballah handed out certificates of appreciation to local groups, businesses and individuals.

Ballah and Dethman described prevention and outreach programs including alcohol assessments of businesses, retail server training, responsible servers care billboard, sponsoring security for Hops Fest and Cider Fest, radio spots on Radio Tierra and El Rio, and sponsoring Community Education Movies in the Park in Cascade Locks, and prevention education programs Strengthening the Families, Here’s Looking At You and Project Alert.

“We really appreciate the help you have given us in the room to make all of that possible,” Ballah said.

In reviewing recent work along with more than two decades in prevention leadership, Dethman said, “My heart is just huge right now, it feels wonderful when the community says thank you and we thank others and recognize what other people have done. It makes us all feel better. And that’s true for young people, too. We have students who are coming up and come back and get their training and it helps us all be healthier.”

Dethman and Ballah handed out Excellence in Prevention certificates to these partners:

Allyson Pate of the WINGS program and service as Commission on Children and Families chair; Carri Ramsey-Smith, DHS, for her support of prevention work; Coco Yackley for using objective data analysis; Anne Carloss, Hood River County School District for support through Early Childhood and promoting student best practices administration, emphasizing positive behaviors, consistent behavior strategy in all schools; Tom Yates for advocacy in keeping marijuana out of hands of kids, and for educating the community; Dave Meriwether, Hood River County Board of Commissioners, adoption of comprehensive tobacco-free policy; Jeff Skye, Bi-Coastal Media for support in Health Media Club radio PSAs; HRVHS teacher Gabe Judah, for his “belief in and advocacy for kids as Health Media Club advisor;” Dulcy Ballinger, Health Media Clubs volunteer, who “has a way of bringing the best out of kids;” Dr. Michelle Beaman, for her work with the “Kick Butts Campaign” at the middle schools, promoting Healthy Family Policies and advocacy for strong tobacco policies for our community; Greg Knutson of Full Sail Brewery, for commitment to responsible server and management practices; Ashley Huckaby May and Mike Glover, Chamber of Commerce, for outstanding leadership in hosting tobacco-free events and promoting responsible servers; Julio Villamonte, for support providing data on DUII infractions; and Kirby Neumann-Rea of Hood River News for coverage of prevention programs and events.

Along with saying thank you for his certificate, Villamonte offered a caution from his perspective tracking DUII cases, and the intoxicants that were involved; he noted that Hood River is a popular place for people to come and celebrate, and it is important to remember that others are doing so and to be cognizant of our own practices.

“Don’t drive, ride a bicycle, boat or ride a horse, under alcohol, or while using meds you’re not supposed to be taking while driving. Don’t get a DUII. Please take care out there,” Villamonte said.

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