DURHAM, N.C. (BP)–Drug problems are “destroying the fabric of our nation,” warns Ted Stone, who once again has taken his message across America. Literally.
Stone recently returned from his third “Walking and Talking Across America” tour, telling people about the dangers of drug and alcohol addiction. The Durham, N.C., crusader has devoted the past 23 years to help people find answers to what is acknowledged as a serious problem and has helped underscore the issue among Southern Baptists and other Christians.
His most recent cross-country crusade started Jan. 31 in Laredo, Texas. Stone met for a brief prayer breakfast with several Mexican ministers in Nuevo, Mexico.
Carrying an American flag and a Mexican banner, Stone returned across the international bridge into the United States and began a 1,700-mile journey that would take him to the Canadian border.
Like his other walks across America, this most recent endeavor had an important message — one that he delivered to the owners and management of Anheuser-Busch Company, one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of beer.
Stone said the beer company’s executives needed to hear his message. “I really do believe that we must be extremely careful on the influence we have on other people,” he said. “The beer industry has a great influence on people’s lives. I’m praying for a positive answer to my letter.”
In his letter, Stone challenged the company to be responsible in its advertising campaigns. “I am pleading with your company to carefully reexamine past advertising programs to ascertain whether this type of advertising, particularly those ads associated with such comical creatures as frogs and lizards, does indeed contain a strong appeal for our young people,” Stone wrote. “As you know, far too many of our teenagers are falling prey to the enticement of not only beer products, but also a wide range of other alcoholic beverages.”
“I believe that if Anheuser-Busch would delete the advertising bearing specific appeals to our young, then other beer industries would soon follow suit,” he added.
Stone said the purpose of his walk is not to pass judgment on the beer industry. “I made my plea in a realistic and kindhearted way,” Stone said. “But these companies have a grave responsibility.”
During Stone’s walk, which ended on May 18, he spoke in churches, schools, civic groups, prisons and rehabilitation centers.
Along with his associate, Philip Barber, Stone walked nearly 25 miles every day, carry the American flag and waving to passers-by.
Stone has also collected almost 500,000 commitment cards from people pledging to live a life free from drug abuse.
“Our nation needs a new set of heroes,” Stone proclaimed in a recent issue of SBC Life, published by the SBC Executive Committee. “What better hero could one have than someone he sees almost on a daily basis such as a family member or friend who embraces sobriety and self-control as the best road to happiness, success and inner peace?”
Stone said he will continue to spread that message across the country. “These are drastic times that require drastic actions,” he said.