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Triangle-area North Carolinians Honored with Attorney General Josh Stein’s Dogwood Award

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, November 26, 2019

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today announced that Dr. Wanda Boone, Together for Resilient Youth; Secretary Mandy Cohen, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services; Durham Police Chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis; Molly Diggins, State Director of the Sierra Club; Dennis Gaddy, Founder and Executive Director of Community Success Initiative; Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins; and Don Waddell, General Manager of the Carolina Hurricanes, have received the Attorney General’s Dogwood Award. These awards are given annually to honor North Carolinians who are dedicated to keeping people safe, healthy, and happy in their communities.

Dr. Wanda Boone

“Dr. Wanda Boone and her work with young people in Durham is an inspiration to us all,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Addressing the opioid epidemic and confronting addiction is a critical issue. Together for Resilient Youth is working every day to ensure our young North Carolinians are staying healthy, resilient, and fulfilling their potential.”

Wanda Boone is the founder and director of Together for Resilient Youth (TRY) in Durham. TRY was founded in 2003 with a mission to address substance use and risky behaviors through collective impact. In 2009, they began their sustained focus on opioids.

“I am honored and overjoyed to receive this award,” said Dr. Wanda Boone. “I was pleased to invite Attorney General Josh Stein to participate in an important and valuable conversation with community members about how the opioid epidemic has impacted the Black community. The conversation led to greater understanding and expanded action. TRY is a member of More Powerful NC, a comprehensive tool to address opioid misuse. We are more powerful together as we work to address the challenges that face us: ACEs/Trauma, Substance Use, Recovery, Resilience and Healing.”

Sec. Mandy Cohen

“Secretary Mandy Cohen has been a key partner in leading the effort to address the opioid epidemic in North Carolina,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I am grateful for her partnership, particularly this year as we launched More Powerful NC together. This initiative will help us prevent opioid misuse and spur community action to fight the epidemic.”

Dr. Mandy Cohen was appointed to the role of Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) in January 2017. Dr. Cohen is an internal medicine physician. Before coming to NCDHHS, she was the Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“I’m honored to be recognized among so many leaders in the state. This award highlights the hard work and progress of a large team fighting the opioid crisis,” said Secretary Mandy Cohen.  “We will continue to collaborate with the Attorney General’s office, businesses, health care organizations, and state agencies to end the opioid epidemic.”

Chief Cerelyn Davis

“Chief C.J. Davis and the Durham Police Department have taken impressive steps to test the untested sexual assault kits in Durham,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “The crime of sexual assault is devastating. We owe it to survivors to test the kits because when we test the kits we solve crimes. Thank you, Chief Davis and the Durham Police Department, for your dedicated effort.”

A native North Carolinian, Durham Police Chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis has more than 32 years of dedicated service in the law enforcement profession. Prior to her appointment as Durham Chief of Police in 2016, she spent 30 years with the Atlanta Police Department where she rose through the ranks and retired as Deputy Chief.

“We want our entire community to know that bringing closure to unresolved sexual assault cases is a high priority for the Durham Police Department, which is the primary reason we pursued this (sexual assault kit testing) grant opportunity,” said Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis. “These awarded funds will greatly assist us in providing dedicated resources for investigating and potentially solving cold case sexual assaults. Our investigators are committed and passionate about pursuing justice in each case. We want each survivor to know they have not been forgotten and we are here for them.”

Molly Diggins

“Molly Diggins has dedicated her career to protecting North Carolina’s environment. While she may have retired professionally, I hope she continues the fight,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Our state and environment are in a better place because of her dedication.”

Molly Diggins has been State Director since opening the Sierra Club’s North Carolina chapter in 1997. She has worked to build public and political support for the passage of wide-ranging and groundbreaking environmental policies on both the local and state level. On Nov. 8, Gov. Roy Cooper presented Molly with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

“I am deeply appreciative to Attorney General Josh Stein for this recognition,” said Molly Diggins. “And, I am grateful for the opportunities I have had over the decades to work together with citizens across North Carolina to conserve and protect our state’s lands and waters for the benefit of all its citizenry, as called for in our constitution.”

Dennis Gaddy

“Dennis Gaddy has worked tirelessly on behalf of formerly incarcerated people,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “He is an inspiration to us all. We greatly appreciate his work to ensure formerly incarcerated people are getting every chance they can to do the right thing.”

Dennis Gaddy has been the driving force behind policy change and innovative reentry initiatives since the inception of Community Success Initiative in 2004. Dennis graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill and Campbell University School of Law and built a 20-year career in sales before he found himself in the NC Department of Corrections for five years and eight months. Helping others be their best became his personal mission. For the last 20 years, he has dedicated his career to coaching, training, and consulting to support people and help them reach their personal success goals.

“Society has a way of being unforgiving toward people who have made mistakes,” said Dennis Gaddy.  “They have a way of making it hard to do the right thing–and if you make it hard to do the right thing, you make it easy to do the wrong thing.”

Chief Gina Hawkins

“Chief Gina Hawkins and the Fayetteville Police Department are doing great work to test their untested sexual assault kits,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Thanks to their hard work, seven cold cases in Cumberland County became very warm. We are seeing hits on the national DNA database, we are arresting rapists, and we are bringing justice to victims.”

Fayetteville Chief of Police Gina Hawkins joined the Department in August 2017 after nearly 29 years of experience in law enforcement. Chief Hawkins has molded her career and life by serving the people within the community and the people with whom she works. She began her career in 1988 with the City of Atlanta police department.

“I am honored to receive this award, but I recognize my commitment to sexual assault victims only mirrors my Department’s dedication to crime fighting and empowering the victims of sexual assaults,” said Chief Gina Hawkins.  “We recognize if we don’t take action and utilize all the investigative tools available to us, rapists go free and the safety of our community is at risk.”

Don Waddell

“Don Waddell and the Carolina Hurricanes did a great public service when they partnered with NCDOJ and law enforcement to host the NHL’s first-ever prescription drug take back event,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Many of us have unneeded prescription drugs sitting in our medicine cabinets where they can get into the wrong hands. Because of the Carolina Hurricane’s take back event, people were able to dispose of their dangerous and addictive drugs safely.”

Don Waddell is in his second season as the Carolina Hurricane’s general manager and his fifth season as the team’s president. Waddell has 39 years of experience in professional hockey as a player, coach, general manager, scout, and business executive.

“We are proud to be able to assist Attorney General Stein and our state’s law enforcement officials in the fight against the opioid epidemic,” said Don Waddell.  “We’ve learned so much ourselves during this process and it’s critical that the general public is educated in just how we all can assist in this critical battle.”

A full list of 2019 Dogwood Award Recipients is below:

  • Wanda Boone, Together for Resilient Youth, Durham
  • Mark Bowling, Vidant Health, Greenville
  • Tom Brewer, President, Professional Fire Fighters and Paramedics Association of North Carolina, Charlotte
  • Danny Britt, Columbus and Robeson County
  • Mandy Cohen, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Raleigh
  • Casey Cooper, Chief Executive Officer, Cherokee Indian Hospital, Cherokee
  • Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis, Durham Police Department
  • Molly Diggins, State Director, Sierra Club, Raleigh
  • Officer D.K. Evans, School Resource Officer, Greensboro Police Department
  • Randy Evans, Founder and Director, Walking Tall Wilmington
  • Dennis Gaddy, Founder and Executive Director, Community Success Initiative, Raleigh
  • Chief Gina Hawkins, Fayetteville Police Department
  • Sheriff John Ingram, Brunswick County
  • Luka Kinard, Student/Speaker on Dangers of E-cigarettes, High Point
  • Sheriff Alan Norman, Cleveland County
  • Dennis Riddell, Alamance County
  • Mayor Bob Scott, Franklin
  • Chief Wayne Scott, Greensboro Police Department
  • Mayor Patrick Taylor, Highlands
  • Chief Catrina Thompson, Winston-Salem Police Department
  • Don Waddell, General Manager, Carolina Hurricanes, Raleigh
  • Chief Mike Yaniero, Jacksonville Police Department

Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484


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