County AgriLife agent honored for anti-drug program

HARLINGEN — A Texas A&M AgriLife extension agent’s efforts to reduce teen drinking and drug use has been recognized with a statewide award.

Lilian Mezquida, a Cameron County extension agent specializing in family and consumer sciences, has been instrumental in spreading the Watch UR BAC acohol and other drug awareness programs in the Rio Grande Valley.

Watch UR BAC’s message of impaired driving prevention is especially important, as Texas leads the nation in impaired driving crashes and deaths, TAMU agriLife said.

In addition to a 20-minute presentation tailored to the age of the audience, Watch UR BAC provides hands-on activities to drive home the dangers of drunken and impaired driving.

“I had it two or three years ago at one or two schools but because they realized that this presentation is so effective, they asked me to do it again this year, and this year I was able to do it at five or six schools in San Benito,” she said yesterday.

The Texas Extension Specialists Association awards recognize Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agents and associates for outstanding work with agency specialists.

The association, also known as TESA, represents the interests of AgriLife Extension specialists, associates and assistants within AgriLife Extension and the Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension Program.

With Mezquida’s help, Watch UR BAC has successfully spread a message of impaired driving prevention to youth along the border.

“I am trying to plan something for the fall but I need to find a place to do it, and a way to promote it with a school,” she said.

Mezquida has been with AgriLife in Cameron County for 10 years.

AgriLife award winners

Outstanding Friend of Extension Specialists Award — David Oefinger, executive director, Texas Pest Management Association TESA Professional Development Grant — Janet Hurley, AgriLife Extension program specialist-school IPM in Dallas.

4-H Youth Development Agent Award — Amber Carroll, El Paso County.

Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent Award — Cooper Terrill, Williamson County.

Family and Consumer Sciences Agent Award — Lilian Mezquida, Cameron County.

Community Development Agent Award — Rhonda Cummins, Calhoun County.

Support Staff Award — Brayla Leighton, Southeast District 9, College Station.