Lawton, Okla._ Walkers laced up their shoes tonight at Elmer Thomas Park for the 23rd annual Moonlight Walk Against Drugs.
People showed up to raise awareness of the effects alcohol and other drugs have on the community. The event is sponsored by the southwest Oklahoma Crimestoppers and Drug Busters. It's their only fundraiser of the year. Last year, nearly a thousand people turned out and they managed to raise more than $12,000. This year, despite the chilly weather, hundreds of walkers came out in support of keeping drugs off the city's streets.
With the official cutting of the ribbon, the Moonlight walk got started. Hundreds of walkers put their feet into action to voice their support against drugs in the community.
"Drugs are bad because you can get sick and go to the hospital and die," said Jasmine Munoz, who attended the walk with her family.
"If you smoke, it will get addicted to your head, and when it gets addicted to your head, you'll want to keep on smoking and smoking," said Jadon Munoz.
And even at Jadon's young age, he understands some of unattractive effects drugs have on people.
"Damage to your body, cancer, and bad breath and teeth," are some of the effects Jadon listed.
Christy Clark is the president of the southwest Oklahoma Crimestoppers and believes this annual event is a great learning opportunity for the community.
"We've had a lot of crime since the first of the year that's happened in Lawton. If we can educate people on how to help solve those crimes or educate those people to where those crimes don't occur, then that's just going to make out community better overall," said Clarke.
Lawton Police Chief James Smith said the community support was encouraging and also stressed the importance of the Crimestoppers.
"It's a very effective tool that people can call in, text in, or email in to give us very valuable tips in helping us to solve crimes," said Smith.
The Crimestoppers raise money through fundraising and also by sponsors such as Roadback Inc., a substance abuse and prevention center.
"We believe it is important to keep our community safe and healthy," said Christina Erman, Roadback's CEO.
All of the money raised tonight will go toward paying people who give information that leads to crimes being solved.
"Our organization let's them come forward with information to help solve a crime without revealing who they are," said Clarke.