County DUI Task Force names contest winners at LES

By Danielle Nason


Libby Elementary staff members and Montana Highway Patrol Sergeant Neil Duram welcomed all the children gathered at the Libby Elementary School assembly on Thursday, Nov. 1to announce local winners of the second annual DUI Task Force essay/illustration contest.

The assembly starting off with all children singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” led by sixth grade teacher Mr. Thompson. Happy hands clapped, snapped and even stomped; making thunder sound as if it was coming from atop the bleachers. To keep the noise down afterwards, instead of clapping when a guest speaker was finished speaking, everyone snapped their fingers.

Everyone was excited to hear who the winners were, as the names were withheld until the assembly. All kids got to honor the winners of the awards; for the Kindergarteners this was their first assembly. Only after everyone was on their toes to know who the winners were, did Sergeant Duram make the welcome announcement.

First place winner Cody Katzer (2nd grade), won a brand-new bicycle, presented by Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Kate Trewick. The motto Cody won with was, “Think, Don’t Drink.”

Second place winner Riley McNew (5th grade), won a $50 gift card, presented by DUI Task Force Coordinator Sindy Filler.  Riley’s motto was, “Family comes first, don’t drive impaired.”

The DUI Task Force contest program was designed to take kids ideas and turn them into something that can transform society in a positive way. The program has a three-prong approach: enforcement, education and community transportation.  “We want you to put thoughts into an idea and then put that idea on paper,” said Sergeant Duram when talking about the art and essay contest held earlier in the year. He added that the decisions they make today have a lasting effect on the future.  “You’re the next generation. You are the ones that will take over someday. If you don’t make healthy or good choices today, the world you take over won’t be much fun.”

The assembly also covered how no voice is too small to be heard, and no idea is too small to make a difference. Even a small act of random kindness can make a change. Encouraging children to remember to be kind, everyone was informed that for the month of November is National Kindness Month.  Any kids that are seen being nice, will get their name put in a drawing.  A name will be drawn every Monday to win a prize.

November 13th is National Kindness Day – Let’s all take a moment to perform some act of kindness for someone on this special day. Give back for the kindness you have received in the past from others and keep the ball rolling by sharing your kindness with another.  Sometimes something small can make the biggest of differences.

“We will do the program again next year,” says Sindy Filler. This gives kids incentive to keep being creative in the war against drunk drivers and for safety. “So, if you see a bike at the front desk of the office next year, come and ask for a form to write an essay or compete with your art.”

Also, present was Libby Police department Sergeant Chris Pape who welcomed kids into the assembly as well as assisted Sergeant Duram in passing out “high fives” and “knuckles” with excited kids.

Remember, when you see a drunk driver, call 911. Your call could be the one that saves a life.

Fifth grade LES student, Riley McNew receives a $50 gift card at last week’s assembly for her illustration that is being held up by DUI Task Force Coordinator Sindy Filler. Photo by Tracy McNew, The Montanian