A McAlester-area man will be honored during the statewide March on Meth set for Monday.

This year’s March Against Meth is a tribute to the late Rocky Eales, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper who lost his life in the line of duty.

A McAlester native, Eales died in 1999 after being shot while helping serve a search warrant at a residence in rural Sequoyah County.

Lori Swanson, of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, is the organizer of the statewide march. She said the day has been chosen to raise awareness about the dangers of methamphetamine use and to honor law enforcement officers who have died in the fight against meth.

On Monday, law enforcement officers throughout Oklahoma will distribute 67,000 special wrist bands along with a parent alert letter regarding methamphetamine.

Debbie Burrows, a lieutenant with the McAlester Campus Police, has received 5,000 of the wristbands to distribute in McAlester.

Burrows feels Eales deserves the honor.

“Rocky is a hometown officer. He was from here and grew up here,” she said. “Rocky Eales is a hero.”

Swanson agrees.

“This will be a great time to honor him,” she said.

Recognizing the occasion, Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry has proclaimed Monday as March Against Meth Day in Oklahoma.

Activities set for Monday in McAlester as part of the March Against Meth:

• 8:30 a.m. — The McAlester High School Family Career Community Leaders of America will march downtown from Main Street to Third Street on Choctaw Avenue.

• 9:30 a.m. — Will Rogers third grade students will march the Mike Deak walking track.

• 11 a.m. — Puterbaugh Middle School seventh grade students will march the Mike Deak walking track.

• Noon — Puterbaugh eighth grade students will march the Mike Deak walking track.

• 12:40 p.m. — An assembly at Puterbaugh, with guest speakers Keli Eales and Capt. Jeff Sewell of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

• 1:45 p.m. — Parker Intermediate fifth and sixth grade students will march the track at Hook Eales Stadium (which is named in honor of Rocky Eales’ father).

“This is important to our kids,” Burrows said of the March Against Meth.

She believes the best way to fight methamphetamine is through education —education of children and their parents.

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