Thank you, New Hanover County employees

By County Manager Chris Coudriet

Recently, we held our fifth-annual “Reach for the Stars” Banquet, where the county recognized 232 people who received a Stellar Award over the past year and honored 14 employees for earning the highest county award, the Five Star Award.

Reach for the Stars is the county’s employee recognition program, and was established in 2014 with a focus on the county’s shared values of professionalism, integrity, innovation, stewardship, and accountability. Citizens and colleagues can nominate county employees for their outstanding service through a Stellar Award or Community Service Award. And the top award – the Five Star Award – is given to employees who receive nominations across at least four of the county’s five shared values.

Recognition is important. It shows that you value your employees and that their work matters. And that couldn’t be more true for the county.

I am constantly impressed by each of our employees and the work they do to serve our community and to serve one another. They are good at their jobs; but even more than that, they care about what they do and are committed to making a difference.

I want to specially recognize the 14 county employees who received this year’s Five Star Award, because their outstanding work is making a real difference in the lives of our residents:

  • Teresa Bishop, Supervising Librarian, Public Library
  • Jason Browning, Fire Captain, Fire Rescue
  • Josh Chambless, Firefighter/Apparatus Operator, Fire Rescue
  • ShaKyia Freeman, Human Resources Specialist, Human Resources Department
  • Lisa Gans, Public Health Nurse, Public Health Department
  • Marie Hemmen, Environmental Health Supervisor, Public Health Department
  • Cindy Hewett, Deputy Chief Information Officer, IT Department
  • Marilyn Howe, Public Health Nurse, Public Health Department
  • Robin Johnson, Child Protective Services Social Worker, Department of Social Services
  • Linell Josey, Trades Technician, Property Management Department
  • Tara Robles, Payroll Coordinator, Finance Department
  • Holly Royals, Child Protective Services Manager, Department of Social Services
  • Christy Thompson, Children Protective Services Supervisor, Department of Social Services
  • Marie Walker, Human Services Caseworker, Department of Social Services

These employees are serving our community in real and powerful ways, and I am proud to serve alongside them and to be part of an organization that values recognition.

Since the county’s recognition program began in 2014, there have been 27 Five Star Awards presented, 920 Stellar Awards given and 44,961 “high fives” shared (which is a quick way for employees to send a note of thanks with a virtual high five to their colleagues).

I want to encourage everyone in our community to take notice of the good things around you and the county employees who are helping to make them possible. They are doing incredible work, and you can thank these dedicated public servants by nominating them for a Stellar Award through the county’s website.

This recognition program is an important way for the county to say “thank you” to our employees. They work hard for our citizens and I, for one, am grateful for the compassion and dedication they show every day.

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