This year’s annual Walk Against Drugs was a day to remember, complete with weather made to order.
The City of Mission Viejo hosted a crowd of thousands for another successful community event. Partnering once again with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Saddleback Valley Unified School District and Capistrano Unified School District, participants were welcomed to a morning of entertainment, encouragement, and fun.
Nearly 5,000 people of all ages gathered at Mission Viejo High School to hear keynote speaker Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight contender Mark Munoz rally the crowd for drug free lifestyles.
Munoz effectively encouraged the crowd to avoid drug abuse, emphasizing his five “Drug Free D’s”: Desire, Direction, Diligence, Discipline, and Dedication. By teaching these ideals, Munoz provided strategies that people should follow for preventing substance abuse as well as ensuring success with personal goals. Using himself as an example, Munoz lives what he preaches as he is proudly achieving his life successes drug free.
Afterward, Mark and the crowd formed the annual red ribbon of shirts down La Paz Rd as they headed to the Village Green at Oso Viejo Park. There they were greeted by a fair site of fundraising booths with crafts and games. The activity was comprised of school and youth groups raising money while promoting drug free lifestyles and community service. The Sheriff’s department was present in full force with special units including their canines from patrol, search and rescue, and the bomb squad.
New additions delighting the crowd this year included 50 cent tacos from Rubio’s and free scoops of ice cream from Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour.
A garden of Special Friends catered to children with special needs and typical youngsters with a bounce house, obstacle course and spin barrel provided by the Us Too Center of Lake Forest.
Upon his arrival, Munoz signed autographs with the crowd, gave live demonstrations and free giveaways from his gym, the REIGN Training Center in Lake Forest.
The day’s event was again enhanced as walkers were greeted by the 4th annual South County Disaster Preparedness Expo, hosted by County Supervisor Pat Bates. Residents talked with the various county agencies and entities that coordinate services facilitating disaster recovery. On hand was the Fire Authority displaying several special vehicles employed for various emergencies. The Emergency Management Bureau encouraged residents to sign up for AlertOC–an emergency message notification system. Participants in this area were treated to the realistic earthquake simulator and “rides” on the OC Public Work lift truck.
Special recognition goes to the Mission Viejo Community of Character Committee for their contributions to the success of this event.
Special thanks to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Epiphany Anglican Church and Saddleback District Boy Scouts of America for their teamwork and support as well.
NOTE: Don’t miss another red ribbon event, “A night with Mark Munoz” on Monday October 24th at the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center. Mark will discuss “Success Through Character and Determination”.
Also: Mark will be the main event on November 5th for the UFC 138 with contender Chris Leben in the five-round main event on Spike TV at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, England.