Attorney General Stein honors six Western North Carolinians with Dogwood Awards

Press release from the office of Attorney General Josh Stein:

Attorney General Josh Stein today honored six North Carolinians in western North Carolina 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 western North Carolina are:

District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch

“Drug traffickers have flooded western North Carolina with illicit, deadly drugs,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “District Attorney Welch has made it clear that she will not tolerate these drugs on our streets and is fighting to hold accountable the criminals who traffic poison.”

District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch represents Prosecutorial District 43 (Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, and Swain counties.)

Philip Cooper

“As founder of Operation Gateway in Asheville, Philip helps people who are re-entering society find resources they need to rebuild their lives,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “He has used his own lived experiences to help others lead successful lives.”

Philip Cooper is the founder and executive director of Operation Gateway, which works to address recidivism and support people leaving incarceration.

Mayor Preston Blakely

“As both a local and statewide leader, Mayor Blakely is working to help local communities create a fairer criminal justice system,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “His work and input on the Governor’s Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice is making a difference.”

Mayor Preston Blakely is the mayor of the town of Fletcher.

Sheriff Lowell Griffin, Henderson County

“Communities across North Carolina continue to face public safety challenges,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Sheriff Griffin has worked to recruit and retain officers who will serve as guardians of their communities.”

Sheriff Lowell Griffin leads the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office.

Mayor Zeb Smathers, Haywood County

“Long before we heard the Canton paper mill’s last whistle, Mayor Smathers has been helping his community,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “His leadership and optimism have been invaluable for the people of Canton through difficult times.”

Mayor Zeb Smathers is the mayor of the town of Canton.

Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock (Posthumous), Appalachian State University

“Dr. Peacock devoted decades of his life to App State, and the university and its students benefited greatly from his service,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “He helped strengthen the university into a leader in many areas of study, including health care, energy, and economics.”

Dr. Kenneth E. Peacock served as chancellor of Appalachian State University from 2004 to 2014. He passed away in October 2023.

The 2023 Dogwood Award recipients are:
Lynn Guilliams, Fuquay-Varina Middle School
Baker Burleson, parent advocate
Survivors of sexual assault, Accepted by Amy Feath, Carousel Child Advocacy Center
Sen. Tom McInnis
Nidhi Sachdeva, North Carolina Association of County Commissioners
Diannee Carden-Glenn, ekiM For Change
District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch, Prosecutorial District 43
Detective Tori Kennedy, Burlington Police Department
Detective Josh Schultz, Burlington Police Department
Jan and Ron Kimble, Jamie Kimble Foundation for Courage
Rashida Gittens, domestic violence victor and advocate
Catherine Johnson, Guilford Family Justice Center
Philip Cooper, Operation Gateway
Mayor Preston Blakely, Town of Fletcher
Officer Robert Daughety, Jacksonville Police Department
Officer Sarah Butler, Jacksonville Police Department
Sheriff Lowell Griffin, Henderson County
Sheriff Clee Atkinson, Edgecombe County
Kara Fox, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Maria Teresa Maza, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Ryan Etheridge, Cleveland County Schools
Kimberly Jones, Chapel Hill High School
Mayor Zeb Smathers, Town of Canton
Rep. Kyle Hall
Cady Thomas
Cassandra Brooks, Medicaid Expansion advocate
Firefighter Kevin Murphy, on behalf of the Charlotte Fire Department
Captain Jeff Bright, on behalf of the Charlotte Fire Department
Senator H.M. Michaux, Jr.
Judge Shirley Fulton, North Carolina Superior Court
Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock, Appalachian State University
Chancellor Harold L. Martin, Sr., North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
Jonas Swartz, MD, MPH, Duke Health
Ernestine Bryant, Brunswick County

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