Skip Navigation
  • Robocall Hotline:(844)-8-NO-ROBO
  • All Other Complaints:(877)-5-NO-SCAM
  • Outside NC:919-716-6000

Attorney General Josh Stein Honors 15 Central North Carolinians with Dogwood Awards

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Contact:
Nazneen Ahmed (919) 716-0060

Note: Photos of all 2021 Dogwood Award recipients are available here. Video of the awards ceremony is available here.

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today awarded 15 central North Carolina leaders with the Attorney General’s Dogwood Award. The attorney general distributes these awards annually to honor North Carolinians who work to keep people safe, healthy, and happy in their communities.

The central North Carolina recipients are:

The Sister Circle: Dr. Rasheeda Monroe, Dr. Netasha McLawhorn, Dr. Michele Benoit-Wilson, Dr. Tiffany Lowe-Payne, Dr. Jacqueline Hicks, and Dr. Nerissa M. Price

“Drs. Monroe, McLawhorn, Benoit-Wilson, Lowe-Payne, Hicks, and Price used their medical expertise and their community connections to build trust with North Carolinians and encourage them to get the COVID-19 vaccine – the best way out of this pandemic,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “The Sister Circle physicians are helping save lives from this devastating pandemic, especially in communities that have long experienced disparities in health care.”

Dr. Rasheeda Monroe is a board-certified pediatrician and medical director for WakeMed Physician Practices – Pediatrics and the campus director for the UNC program based at WakeMed Raleigh Campus.

Dr. Netasha McLawhorn is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist at WakeMed Obstetrics and Gynecology and a fellow with the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Dr. Michele Benoit-Wilson is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist affiliated with WakeMed Obstetrics and Gynecology and a fellow with the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Dr. Tiffany Lowe-Payne is a dually board-certified family physician and medical weight loss specialist at WakeMed Bariatric Surgery and Medical Weight Loss and an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Buies Creek, N.C. She is also president of the North Carolina Society of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians.

Dr. Jacqueline Hicks is a board-certified family medicine physician at WakeMed Primary Care.

Dr. Nerissa M. Price is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist at WakeMed Obstetrics and Gynecology and a fellow with the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Officer Stephanie Collins

“A child is alive today because of Officer Collins’ quick thinking when she jumped into a retention pond to save him from drowning,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Officer Collins is a role model of the best of law enforcement – putting the safety of the public first.”

Stephanie Collins is a police officer with the Fayetteville Police Department.

Linda Combs

“Twenty-nine years ago, Linda Combs suffered one of the most heinous crimes possible,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “It took 28 years to solve her case, but in that time, Linda became an advocate for survivors of sexual assault across North Carolina. She has spent decades fighting for changes like the Survivor Act and testing older untested sexual assault kits in local law enforcement custody. She is also urging the General Assembly to add to the list of crimes that requires a person to provide DNA after arrest. Her advocacy means that we can better get justice for victims of sexual assault and keep our communities safe.”

Linda Combs is an advocate for sexual assault victims and survivors in Fayetteville.

Chief Chris Blue

“I’m grateful for Chief Blue’s commitment to getting justice – a commitment we saw bear fruit this year in his and his team’s years-long effort to find and hold accountable the accused in Faith Hedgepeth’s murder,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “As chief of the Chapel Hill Police Department and chair of the state’s Criminal Justice Training and Standards Commission, Chief Blue strives to continually improve law enforcement to better serve and protect North Carolinians.”

Chief Chris Blue has led the Chapel Hill Police Department since 2010.

Major Elijah Bazemore

“Major Bazemore puts people first,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “He works to help those who are struggling with substance use disorder get treatment they need while they are incarcerated and find a path to recovery. With the opioid crisis devastating our state, I’m proud to honor Major Bazemore and Durham County’s work to help people have a chance at a healthier tomorrow.”

Major Elijah Bazemore is the program administrator at the Durham County Detention Center.

Kevin Leonard

“Kevin has been a critical partner in our effort to get funds for opioid treatment and recovery to North Carolina communities,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “We are in a great position to help people with the nearly $900 million coming to North Carolina from opioid agreements that my office helped secure, and Kevin and his team have been instrumental in getting us to this place.”

Kevin Leonard is the executive director of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners.  

Christopher Lane

“The Criminal Justice Fellows program is all about helping train the next generation of officers to build relationships and trust with the communities they serve,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Officer Lane followed his passion for public service and enrolled in the CJ Fellows program to help ensure he had the best training possible to protect his community.”

Officer Christopher Lane is a graduate of the Criminal Justice Fellows program and works with the Chapel Hill Police Department.

District Attorney Matt Scott 

“District Attorney Scott is using his office to help ensure that our criminal justice system treats every person fairly and addresses the root causes of people’s struggles,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “He is focused on keeping Robeson County safe by focusing on violent crime and moving people with addiction into the health care system to get treatment. I’m grateful for his lifelong public service to our nation and the people of Robeson County.”

District Attorney Matt Scott leads Robeson County’s District Attorney’s Office.

Sen. Jim Burgin, District 12, Angier

“Sen. Burgin has spearheaded the SAFE Act to combat the addiction treatment fraud cases we’re seeing in North Carolina,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “This is a growing problem, and I’m grateful for his leadership to make sure that people with substance use disorder are getting help instead of getting swindled.”

Sen. Jim Burgin represents District 12 (Harnett, Johnson, and Lee counties) in the North Carolina Senate.

Marcus Morris, Scotland Neck Police Department, Scotland Neck

“Our communities, especially in small towns like Scotland Neck, need dedicated public servants in our law enforcement agencies,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Officer Morris completed the Criminal Justice Fellows program to help ensure that he had the best possible training to keep his community safe.”

Officer Marcus Morris works for the Scotland Neck Police Department and is a graduate of the Criminal Justice Fellows program.

The 2021 Dogwood Award recipients are:

  1. Dr. Rasheeda Monroe, The Sister Circle, Cary
  2. Dr. Netasha McLawhorn, The Sister Circle, Raleigh
  3. Dr. Michele Benoit-Wilson, The Sister Circle, Raleigh
  4. Dr. Tiffany Lowe-Payne, The Sister Circle, Wendell
  5. Dr. Jacqueline Hicks, The Sister Circle, Zebulon
  6. Dr. Nerissa M. Price, The Sister Circle, Raleigh
  7. Lowe’s Home Improvement, Mooresville
  8. President Deborah Dicks Maxwell, North Carolina NAACP, Wilmington
  9. Dr. Kerianne Crockett, North Carolina Obstetrical and Gynecological Society, ECU Brody School of Medicine, and Vidant Medical Center, Greenville
  10. Kristie Puckett Williams, American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, Charlotte
  11. Secretary Eddie Buffaloe, North Carolina Department of Public Safety, Raleigh
  12. Sheriff Quentin Miller, Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office, Asheville
  13. Officer Stephanie Collins, Fayetteville Police Department, Fayetteville
  14. Ingram Bell, Gate City Coalition, Greensboro
  15. Linda Combs, sexual assault Survivor and advocate, Fayetteville
  16. Sue and Rod Lee, HeartWorks, Bayboro
  17. Karen Prince, HeartWorks, Bayboro
  18. Chief Chris Blue, Chapel Hill Police Department, Chapel Hill
  19. District Attorney Matt Scott, Robeson County, Lumberton
  20. Sen. Jim Burgin, District 12 (Harnett, Johnson, and Lee counties), Angier
  21. Kemp Burdette, Cape Fear River Watch, Wilmington
  22. Margaret D. Bordeaux, North Carolina Division of Public Health’s Injury and Violence Prevention Branch, Wilmington
  23. Major Elijah Bazemore, Durham County Sheriff’s Office, Durham
  24. Kevin Leonard, North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, Apex
  25. Sara LaVere, Brunswick County Board of Elections, Brunswick County
  26. Rep. Dean Arp, District 69 (Union County), Monroe
  27. Rep. Jason Saine, District 97 (Lincoln County), Lincolnton
  28. Rep. Donny C. Lambeth, District 75 (Forsyth County), Winston-Salem
  29. Rep. Jake Johnson, District 113 (Henderson, Polk, and Transylvania counties), Mill Springs
  30. Michelle Ellis, Hunter Huss High School, Gastonia
  31. Octavia Hamilton, Isaac Dickson Elementary School, Asheville
  32. Dean Bagnoni, John F. Kennedy High School, Winston-Salem
  33. Christopher Lane, Chapel Hill Police Department, Chapel Hill
  34. Marcus Morris, Scotland Neck Police Department, Scotland Neck
  35. Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Asheville
  36. Piedmont Land Conservancy, Greensboro

 

###