DARE Graduation

by tashun chism Officer Ben Vaughan loves children and believes it's important to give back to the community. That's why every year he hosts the Angelina County Drug Abuse Resistance and Education graduation ceremony. "Almost everyone understands that drugs are bad, that there are dangers involved with them. But when they hear information from an officer or someone who sees those things on a daily basis, the information hits a little harder," said Vaughan. "I'm happy to be drug free because if I weren't drug free then I may never live my life the way I would like to," DARE graduate Colton McCoy proudly exclaimed. More than 300 5th graders from four different Lufkin elementary schools graduated from the program. Vaughan says one of the things he most enjoys about being involved with DARE is the response he gets from teachers and parents as well as children. "The response is always very positive. Anytime you're telling young people about the dangers of drugs that can never be a bad thing." One parent who's daughter graduated from the program agreed. "I feel great that they have the Lufkin Police Department going to the schools helping our youngsters become aware of the dangers that are out there, like drugs, tobacco, drinking, and try to prevent it," said Rolando Torres while proudly hugging his daughter, Alexis.  DARE holds two graduations in Lufkin every year. Vaughan says he enjoyed today's graduation so much, he's already looking forward to the next one.  "I enjoy the job that I do. I tell everybody I have one of the best jobs in the world because working with the kids is a lot of fun. Teaching the information that I teach is a lot of fun. So the response from the kids is always positive. It's a good thing for the teachers involved and for the schools involved, so I tell everybody I have a really good job and it really is that way."