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“Don’t Make the Drug Mistake I Did”

Mike Forte receives Certificate of Appreciation
Mike Forte (right), a Brunswick County Commissioner, is presented with a Certificate of Appreciation from the Brunswick County Comp Squadron by Capt Dick Hart. Photo Credit: Maj Kathy Nicholas, CAP (click image to view full size)
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5/30/2017––On May 2, 2017, Civil Air Patrol’s Brunswick County Composite Squadron members learned the hard life story of a former drug user. The Honorable Mike Forte, a Brunswick County Commissioner, told the crowd how he went from being a teenage rock and roll star, to a convict, literally overnight. The result of his bad decision to use drugs had life-long consequences, which to this day, he fights to overcome - knowing many he never will.

While serving less than two years behind bars, he is forever labeled a "federal criminal" which basically makes him unemployable. He lost his career, his wife, his kids and his home. Only through extreme hard work and sacrifice was he able to start his own pest control business and eventually became financially successful. And from those efforts, he was able to work his way into political positions with first his town and then as a county commissioner. But despite his success, he is deprived of many opportunities afforded others in society. For example, he cannot hunt, nor can he own a gun. Mr. Forte talked of the shaming his kids went through at school and the emotional toll on all his family from the day he was busted with cocaine.
Mr. Forte’s message was, “Don’t start with drugs; you won’t be able to control it and you eventually will get caught.” Besides his role as a Brunswick County Commissioner, he spends his time helping kids get out of the drug world. Knowing firsthand of the consequences, Mr. Forte is ready to help any kid who finds him/herself in trouble.
Captain Dick Hart, the Squadron Drug Demand Reduction Officer (DDRO) serves on an Opioid taskforce with Mr. Forte (under the direction of Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis) and requested that he speak to the unit. Mr. Forte readily agreed and spent nearly an hour revealing many personal stories of his past. His goal is to help young adults avoid the mistakes he made. His presentation had an impact on both the cadets and the senior members.
Cadet development is a major focus of CAP. Drugs don’t mix with this goal. Capt Hart has been actively engaged within the squadron and the local community spreading the word on the negative effects of drugs.