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Attorney General Josh Stein Honors 11 Triangle Area North Carolinians with 2023 Dogwood Awards

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Nazneen Ahmed (919) 716-0060

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today honored 11 North Carolinians in the Triangle with the Attorney General’s Dogwood Award. These awards are given out annually to recognize people who are working to improve the health, safety, and well-being of their fellow North Carolinians.

Recipients in the Triangle area:

Lynn Guilliams

“Lynn acted quickly and with empathy and kindness to disarm a student and protect middle schoolers from potential harm,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “She exhibits the best of what we want from our teachers and those who take care of our children.”

Lynn Guilliams is a teacher at Fuquay-Varina Middle School.

Sen. Tom McInnis

“As the fentanyl crisis continues to devastate North Carolina, Sen. McInnis has been a leader in fighting back against drug trafficking,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “His leadership helped North Carolina pass a law to prevent drug dealers from using pill presses to make counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl. This legislation will help save lives.”

Sen. Tom McInnis represents District 21 (Cumberland and Moore counties) in the North Carolina Senate and serves as the Senate Majority Whip.

Nidhi Sachdeva

“North Carolina is a national leader in combatting the opioid overdose crisis, and Nidhi is a big part of that effort,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “For years, she’s been championing evidence-based treatment, harm reduction, and innovative solutions to help North Carolinians struggling with substance use.”

Nidhi Sachdeva is the Director of Strategic Health and Opioid Initiatives for the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners.

Sheriff Clee Atkinson

“I’m grateful for Sheriff Atkinson’s leadership not only in Edgecombe County, but throughout the state,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “He’s helping us find solutions to help get more well-trained officers on the job to protect our communities.

Sheriff Clee Atkinson leads the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office.

Kara Fox and Maria Teresa Maza

“We’re only beginning to understand how dangerous social media is for our children, and Kara and Maria Teresa are at the forefront of that research,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Their work is going to help us protect our kids from greedy social media companies and the risks they pose.

Kara Fox and Maria Teresa Maza are doctoral students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Kimberly Jones

“Kimberly’s devotion to her students’ education and success is a testament to the importance of public school teachers and why we must pay and support them more,” said Attorney General Josh Stein.

Kimberly Jones is a teacher at Chapel Hill High School and the 2023 North Carolina Teacher of the Year.

Cassandra Brooks

“Cassandra, and advocates like her, helped us finally expand Medicaid this year,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “She lost two colleagues because they couldn’t get the health care they needed, and she used that grief to fight for others’ access to care. I admire anyone who turns personal tragedy into triumph for others, and I thank Cassandra for her advocacy which will save lives.”

Cassandra Brooks owns Little Believer’s Academy and advocated for Medicaid expansion. She recently launched the Dream Believe Achieve Organization nonprofit to help families and children and she wrote the book “From Silence to Strength”. 

Sen. H.M. Michaux, Jr.

“Sen. Michaux is an example of what it means to live a life of service to the state of North Carolina,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “In addition to his decades of practicing law, he served in the General Assembly for 40 years. All of North Carolina is better off for his public service.

At the time of his retirement, Sen. H.M. Michaux, Jr. was the longest-serving member in the North Carolina House of Representatives. He also served in the North Carolina Senate and as a United States attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina.

Dr. Jonas Swartz

“Dr. Swartz is advocating to make sure that women can continue to make decisions about their own bodies,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “With women’s reproductive freedoms under attack, Dr. Swartz’s is doing critical, life-saving work.”

Dr. Jonas Swartz is an obstetrician and gynecologist with Duke Health, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Duke University School of Medicine, and a core faculty member at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. 

Cady Thomas

“Cady provided valuable insight into legislation to protect North Carolinians from predatory real estate companies,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Because of her partnership, these real estate bad actors can’t bind homeowners with oppressive, long-term agreements.”

Cady Thomas represented NC REALTORS.

The 2023 Dogwood Award recipients are:

  1. Lynn Guilliams, Fuquay-Varina Middle School
  2. Baker Burleson, parent advocate
  3. Survivors of sexual assault, Accepted by Amy Feath, Carousel Child Advocacy Center
  4. Sen. Tom McInnis
  5. Nidhi Sachdeva, North Carolina Association of County Commissioners
  6. Diannee Carden-Glenn, ekiM For Change
  7. District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch, Prosecutorial District 43
  8. Detective Tori Kennedy, Burlington Police Department
  9. Detective Josh Schultz, Burlington Police Department
  10. Jan and Ron Kimble, Jamie Kimble Foundation for Courage
  11. Rashida Gittens, domestic violence victor and advocate
  12. Catherine Johnson, Guilford Family Justice Center
  13. Philip Cooper, Operation Gateway
  14. Mayor Preston Blakely, Town of Fletcher
  15. Officer Robert Daughety, Jacksonville Police Department
  16. Officer Sarah Butler, Jacksonville Police Department
  17. Sheriff Lowell Griffin, Henderson County
  18. Sheriff Clee Atkinson, Edgecombe County
  19. Kara Fox, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  20. Maria Teresa Maza, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  21. Ryan Etheridge, Cleveland County Schools
  22. Kimberly Jones, Chapel Hill High School
  23. Mayor Zeb Smathers, Town of Canton
  24. Rep. Kyle Hall
  25. Cady Thomas
  26. Cassandra Brooks, Medicaid Expansion advocate
  27. Firefighter Kevin Murphy, on behalf of the Charlotte Fire Department
  28. Captain Jeff Bright, on behalf of the Charlotte Fire Department
  29. Senator H.M. Michaux, Jr.
  30. Judge Shirley Fulton, North Carolina Superior Court
  31. Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock, Appalachian State University
  32. Chancellor Harold L. Martin, Sr., North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
  33. Jonas Swartz, MD, MPH, Duke Health
  34. Ernestine Bryant, Brunswick County


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