Sheriff donates RICO funds to Project Graduation

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Tom Miller, left, and Fred Creeley, right, accept a donation from Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu for the San Manuel Elks annual Project Graduation.

San Manuel Miner

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu stopped in San Manuel Friday to bring the Elks Lodge some very good news. He presented the Elks with a check in the amount of $5,000 for their Project Graduation. Tom Miller and Fred Creeley accepted the check and thanked the sheriff for his generous donation. The money comes from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office RICO funds. “Every dollar of this money we take from criminals and it goes to make our youth safe,” said the sheriff. “Every year we have honored our partnership with Project Graduation and will continue to do so.”

The $5,000 will allow the Elks to purchase a car which will be raffled off at Project Graduation. One lucky senior will take the car home. Project Graduation is an innovative program that allows graduating seniors and friends to party in an alcohol/drug free safe environment on graduation night. The seniors spend the night inside the Elks lodge. The Elks provide music, movies, games and entertainment. The kids get an opportunity to bid on gift certificates and items with chips they have won playing games of chance during the evening. They all get an opportunity to win the car and four laptop computers with printers and carrying cases.

Since Project Graduation started no senior has been involved in a fatal car accident or been injured in an accident involving alcohol on graduation night. The project has been in existence close to 12 years. Sheriff Babeu said that the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office has promoted the idea to other school districts in Pinal County and some schools are starting programs of their own. He mentioned Poston Butte High School, Coolidge and Florence. The sheriff also said he would remind Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles of his promise to donate RICO funds to Project Graduation.

Project Graduation can use more prizes such as gift certificates and gift baskets for the seniors to bid on. If you would like to donate, contact Tom Miller at 520-591-6272.

John Hernandez (442 Posts)

John Hernandez lives in Oracle. He is retired and enjoys writing and traveling. He is active in the Oracle Historical Society. He covers numerous public events, researches historical features and writes business/artist profiles.


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