DARE deputy receives educational award

Auglaize County’s DARE deputy recently received an award for his outstanding efforts in educating the community and its children.
Deputy Samuel Blank was honored by the Wapakoneta Noon Optimists with their 2011 Outstanding Achievement in Education award.
“We give this out every year to someone who does something in education for the youth in the community,” Optimist President Jo Derryberry said. “Deputy Blank has done so much through DARE.”
She said the recipient of the educational award does not need to work in the school system but rather in some way be involved with educating the community.
She cited his involvement as co-adviser of the county’s Explorer organization since 2006, and the several times a year he presents programs at the Optimist club meetings as well as a special program Blank has presented on Internet safety for youth.
Blank spent more than 80 hours training in child development, classroom management, teaching techniques and communication skills, as well as taking additional training for older age groups to prepare for his job, Derryberry said.
“His aim is to bring together the schools, the police and parents as well as most importantly, teaching the young people about drug abuse,” Derryberry said. “More recently, his career has widened into including teaching the dangers of the Internet, not only to youth but to adults as well.
“This was a way we could honor him for all he does for the community,” she said.
She also noted Blank has given his time and efforts to make children safer and more aware, and has given parents and grandparents and the general public more knowledge to tackle a different world.
“As the phrase goes, ‘It takes a village...’ so we honor one of those who plays an important part of this particular village,” Derryberry said.
Blank, who became the county’s DARE deputy in 2007, said receiving the award was an honor and a complete surprise.
The only DARE deputy in the county, Blank teaches programs, with a curriculum primarily aimed at fifth-graders, at every school in Auglaize County. He also is brought into other schools and grade levels for specific programming aimed at sexting and other problems that go along with computers and today’s changing technology.
He’s presented community-wide programs on general technology safety to all ages, equipping older generations with the information they need to know about everything youth are doing on computers and what to do about it.
“Sam is well deserving of this honor,” Auglaize County Sheriff Al Solomon said. “He puts extra time in and contributes to the office in other ways.”