Benjamin Franklin said an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Members of one local organization believe that to be true, and they are working with area law enforcement, the judicial system and our schools to stem the problem of drug abuse.
During the Belmont County Bar Association’s Law Day event this week, the 2018 Liberty Bell Award went to the St. Clairsville-based Classy Chassis Car Club for its leadership in support of the drug-free clubs in schools across the county. The goal is to open the clubs to children of all grade levels. The Liberty Bell Award goes to individuals or groups who have strengthened the legal system with their work.
Classy Chassis members are auto enthusiasts – but it is apparent that they also care deeply about children and our society. Working with Fregiato and many others, the club members helped to organize and present a car show last year that featured 250 vehicles and participation by hundreds of students. The event raised $22,368.71, which was used to help defray students’ costs for participating in the Staying Clean club this school year.
Students who enroll in the club must submit to random drug screenings performed by the lab at Wheeling Hospital. There is a cost associated with that lab work. Results of the screenings are released only to the students’ parents.
Fregiato, who is an auto enthusiast himself, presented the Liberty Bell Award. He said the county’s drug court is able to rehabilitate some drug offenders and reduce associated crimes. But he acknowledged that the special court program also has many failures.
By reaching out to children about the negative consequences drug abuse could have on their lives, he believes the county can reduce drug abuse in the future. He said the drug-free club is active in every grade school in the county, including public and private schools. The program offers rewards and incentives to participating students.
Fregiato also said organizers of the second annual car show, to be held later this year, already have surpassed last year’s total, raising $37,000 by May 1.
The Classy Chassis Car Club, its members and everyone associated with efforts to benefit the Staying Clean clubs deserve to be commended. We congratulate them for their success and thank them for their hard work on behalf of local children.