Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and safety of our community has been Buncombe County’s highest priority. At a recent reception, the Chamber of Commerce recognized many of our COVID response team members as local COVID humanitarians. We know their dedication to this community first-hand and are proud to share this celebration for their “above & beyond” approach to helping our community members navigate the pandemic.
“From the onset of the pandemic, these eight employees have set an example of working tirelessly to inform and protect our community from this deadly disease,” exclaims County Manager Avril Pinder. “I really can’t express enough gratitude for their unwavering commitment to public health and protecting the residents of Buncombe County the past two years. They are beyond deserving of this recognition.”
See the Chamber write-ups below and congratulations to all.
Stacie Saunders, Buncombe County Public Health Director, joined Buncombe County at the height of the pandemic. She has been instrumental in leading the COVID-19 response in Buncombe County since her arrival. She brings more than 10 years of experience as a Health Director to this effort and has seamlessly engaged staff, community partners, and leadership in efforts to mitigate COVID-19 in the region’s largest and most populous county. She is the president-elect of the NC Association of Local Health Directors.
Dr. Jennifer Mullendore is the Buncombe County Medical Director. Dr. Mullendore led the initial months of the response in a dual role as the interim Health Director and Medical Director. She continues to be a crucial team member through her work with area medical providers and by contributing her time and energy to ensure the best possible outcomes for Buncombe County 24/7.
Stacey Wood is the Health and Human Services Communications Supervisor. Stacey and her team are a critical avenue for communicating with the public, staff, and community partners. She coordinates the Joint Information Center and team members who work to ensure language accessibility, accurate and relevant information, and culturally competent communications are delivered through a variety of messengers and platforms.
Andrew Duckett with the Buncombe County EMS led the Long Term Care Task Force, which was comprised of members from Buncombe County Environmental Health, Safety, Fire Marshals’ office, Adult Care Specialists, and Emergency Medical Services in going into elder care facilities by providing testing and guidance keeping outbreaks under control in in congregate living facilities.
Brittany Robinson and her team of logistics specialists with Buncombe County Emergency Management managed the services and support branches for testing and vaccination sites. Brittany is a vital link for logistical support and continues to lead efforts of EMS and county first responders to support public health.
Nathan Greene, Buncombe County EMS assistant supervisor, coordinated and led field operations for all aspects of testing and vaccination efforts. He assisted in logistics and was instrumental in planning, organizing, and developing the action plans for staffing, testing, vaccination, and community outreach operations while serving as the liaison between Emergency Services and Public Health.
Fletch Tove has been a leader in the COVID-19 response in his role as Public Health Preparedness Director, working to plan, implement, and evaluate plans and policies to support the public’s health during the global pandemic. Through planning and preparedness work, Fletch engaged a range of community partners to provide much-needed capacity to support the response.
Tim Love, who leads intra-governmental affairs in the County Manager’s Office, continues to serve as a liaison between Buncombe County Government and the business community to help relay information and develop business relationships that strengthen our community and build resiliency. He was also a part of the team that was instrumental in the implementation One Buncombe Fund, which helped lessen the financial impact of Covid-19 for residents and business owners.