JACKSONVILLE, N.C. --
Nearly 80 Marines from Cherry Point, Camp Lejeune and New River met at a New River motorcycle dealership Friday to ride in observance of Alcohol Awareness Month. The ride was sponsored by the Coastal Coalition for Substance Abuse Prevention and the Camp Lejeune traffic safety office.
Alcohol Awareness Month, held every April, was founded by the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence to increase public awareness and understanding aimed at encouraging families and individuals negatively affected by alcohol to seek help.
Gunnery Sgt. Eric Smith, who rode with his 9-year-old daughter, said the cause holds a special place in his heart.
“This is personal,” said the 2nd Marine Division strategic spectrum manager. “I’ve lost a lot of friends to alcohol-related incidents.”
Smith said all the friends he lost along the way have impacted his life.
“It’s a tough thing to deal with,” he said. “We deploy and fight for our country and make it back home. It is unacceptable to lose people to drunk driving.”
Smith’s daughter has been riding with him since she was 5. She said she was excited to ride with her father and spend quality time with him. The two are inseparable and sometimes travel cross country together on his bike, he said.
Smith said he looks forward to future rides with his daughter as she gets older.
“I’m glad I get to spend time with my daughter today,” he said. “She is my number one passenger. It also means a lot to help raise awareness for this cause. Maybe if we raise awareness, we won’t have to lose anybody else to alcohol-related incidents.”