May 14, 2013

News Release

For Immediate Release

Don't Meth with MO program could win $10,000

An educational program Springfieldian John Horton developed is receiving national attention – and could earn up to $10,000 - if chosen by online voters as a winner.

Horton, a member of Southeast Rotary, is one of 16 "Community Hero" finalists, selected nationwide by Safeco Insurance to be in the contest. To cast your vote, visit http://promoshq.wildfireapp.com/website/6/contests/323735.

Bill White, owner of Bill White Insurance Agency in Springfield, nominated Horton for the award, and Safeco Insurance already has donated $5,000 to Horton's program, Don't Meth With MO. The voting contest ends at noon, June 3.

"John Horton is a true force for good in Springfield and beyond," said White. "His work with Don't Meth With MO doesn't simply make our community better; it also inspires others to do get involved and make an impact. That's what the Safeco Community Hero Award is all about."

Don't Meth With MO aims to educate students about the dangers of methamphetamine and the power of making positive choices. Horton — inspired after a Rotary International convention where he learned of a similar program in New Mexico — developed the curriculum, met with school administrators and drug counselors, recruited volunteers and raised money to make his vision a reality.

Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams recognized the impact Don't Meth With MO could have on the community, and donated $5,000 each year from the Springfield Police Department Federal Forfeiture Fund (i.e. assets seized from drug dealers) to support Horton's program.

"Meth is a poison prevalent in our society, and specifically within the City of Springfield", Chief Williams said. "My job is to put people in jail and keep them from making and using the drug. But John's program is intended to educate kids, and prevent them from ever trying meth in the first place, which will have longer lasting effects on the health and safety of everyone in the community, and reduce the drain on police resources in the future."

Horton's efforts have resulted in more than 16,000 students learning about methamphetamine and the power of making positive choices.

For the past three years, the program has been presented to every fifth-grade classroom in Springfield, both public and private schools. In 2012, a bi-annual program for high-school students was added, and this year, the program expanded with a presentation targeting seventh graders.

About 10 Rotary clubs in Missouri are also now using the curriculum.

Get Involved

To learn more about how you can support Don't Meth With MO and educate kids and young adults about the dangers of methamphetamine, visit www.dontmethwithmo.com.

About Safeco Insurance

In business since 1923 and based in Seattle, Washington, Safeco sells insurance to drivers and homeowners through a network of independent agents throughout the United States.

Safeco is a Liberty Mutual Insurance company. Liberty Mutual ranks 84th on the Fortune 100 list of the largest U.S. corporations based on 2011 revenue. The company has financial strength ratings of A (Excellent) from the A.M. Best Company, A2 (Good) from Moody's Investors Service, and A- (Strong) from Standard & Poor's.

For more information, contact: Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, 417-864-1009 (office) | 417-380-3352 (cell), cscott@springfieldmo.gov