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June 1, 2010 > Counter Drug program spreads anti-drug message to children

Counter Drug program spreads anti-drug message to children

Submitted By Mel Hinshaw
Photos By courtesy of Mel Hinshaw

Maintaining the attention of the young audience was no challenge at all with MH-60G helicopters circling above the campuses of Rancho and Russell Middle schools in Milpitas.

Enthusiastic 7th and 8th graders applauded the arrival of the members of the 129th Rescue Wing's "Team Hawk" on Monday morning, May 24. Presentations focused on staying in school, saying no to drugs, and staying away from gangs and violence. Captain Brian Finnerty, Team Hawk member and Pilot began the assembly by explaining more about Team Hawk. Team Hawk members Captain Mary Jennings, Pilot; Staff Sergeant Tony Yanez, Flight Engineer and Master Sergeant Brian Taylor, Crew Chief were also present.

Located at Moffett Federal Air Field in Mountain View, the 129th Rescue Wing is a part of the Air National Guard. During war time deployments, the 129th provides combat search and rescue capabilities within their assigned theater of operations. They have participated in deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan. During non-deployment, the wing provides civilian search and rescue capabilities to the state of California.

Team Hawk is the counterdrug branch within the 129th Rescue Wing. "Team Hawk provides counterdrug assistance to all levels of law enforcement, city through federal, in the battle against illegal drugs. The presentations at Rancho and Russell were part of Team Hawk's drug demand reduction program (DDR)," said Mel Hinshaw, San Mateo County Deputy Sheriff and retired USAF Para-rescueman. A former member of Team Hawk, Hinshaw's child also participated in the event at Rancho Middle School.

Grade-schoolers listened attentively while individual members of Team Hawk spoke with them. Milpitas Police and Fire Departments provided a patrol vehicle and fire truck at each end of the helicopter. Members of Milpitas Maintenance, Operations, and Transportation (MOT) Department John Cimino, Brian Shreve, Mike Fisher, David Grundstrom, and Robert Revera were also present at the event. When the speakers finished their presentations, students filed by the helicopter, police car and fire truck. They saw the helicopter and vehicles up-close while speaking with the crew, Deputy Hinshaw, Fire Fighters, and Police Officers. The event culminated as the helicopter departed to the waves and cheers of the assembled kids. The crew and Deputy Hinshaw flew to Russell middle school and repeated the same presentation.

The events were attended by Milpitas City Council member Debbie Giordano; Milpitas Unified School District Superintendant Dr. Karl Black and Board of Education member Gunawan Alisantosa; Milpitas Police Chief Dennis Graham, along with Police Officers Kevin Jackson and Gene Smith. Also present were Milpitas Fire Department Battalion Chief Scott Brown; Engineer George Perez; Firefighter Paramedic James Queenan; Captain Mitch Kimbel; Captain Ken Ricci, Firefighter Paramedic Yvonne Matagulay, and Engineer Paramedic David Peterson.

Members of the Milpitas Veterans Commission Denny Weisgerber; Mel Hinshaw, Liliana Ramos, Dana Arbaugh, Arthur Ebright, David Grundstrom and Council member Giordano echoed the messages presented to the kids, and thanked Team Hawk as well as the Police and Fire Departments.

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