Local NAMI chapter, Sandhills Center celebrate CIT partners in Lee County
Publication Date: August 08, 2023
The voices of NAMI affiliates across the Sandhills Center region are critical in many aspects of our work, including in Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training. NAMI representatives participate in planning many of these trainings, and often facilitate the panel discussions between members, families and first responders during classes.
One such partnership between NAMI-Cumberland, Harnett and Lee Counties (NAMI-CHL) and Sandhills Center was recently celebrated with an 11th anniversary CIT awards luncheon, held in Sanford on July 20, 2023. The individuals recognized for their outstanding contributions to CIT training were: ·
- CIT Champion Award: Victoria Whitt (Retired CEO of Sandhills Center)
- CIT Sheriff’s Office Hero Award: Det. Sgt. Jordan Simons (Lee County Sheriff’s Office)
- CIT Outstanding Service Award: Lt. Dana Elliott (Lee County Sheriff’s Office), and the late Ret. Det. Sgt. Ronald Martin (NC Harm Reduction Coalition)
- CIT Trainers of the Year: Melanie Bunn (Dementia Alliance of NC) and Harrison Hall (Thomasville Fire Department)
- CIT Exemplary Service Award: Trooper Brian Lane (North Carolina State Highway Patrol); Sgt. Michael Nelson (Broadway Police Department); Annie McIver (Advocate: Cameron Grove A.M.E. Zion Church /Lee County Community Action Network [LeeCAN]); Capt. Gregory Deck (Sanford Police Department)
- CIT Volunteer of the Year: Fisher McMillan (LeeCAN)
- Phil Hewett Inclusive Service Award: Marilyn Gilliam (Justice Systems Liaison for Sandhills Center)
- Certificate of Appreciation for Serving as Host Officer: Sgt. K. Scott Hair (Sanford Police Department)
In addition to the awards ceremony, the event also featured remarks from Deby Dihoff of NAMI North Carolina, Anne Kimball of Sandhills Center, Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page, Lee County Sheriff Brian Estes, and Lee County Commissioner Kirk Smith. Hannah Carroll, President of NAMI-CHL, presided over the event which was attended by more than 60 individuals who have played an integral role in CIT training in Lee County, including instructors, Sandhills Center members and their families, as well as local government, law enforcement and emergency medical services officials.
Sandhills Center, along with community partners such as NAMI, cosponsor CIT programs in all of the region’s 11 counties. In Lee County, LeeCAN, part of Lee County Public Health, began to advocate for CIT training in 2010. LeeCAN joined with Sandhills Center, NAMI and about 12 other organizations to make the training a reality in 2012. By the end of 2022, the Lee County CIT program had certified 180 first responders.