Recently, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce recognized several Buncombe County first responders at their annual Family Get-Down by the River event. These hometown heroes were honored for giving back to our community and going above and beyond their normal roles. They were nominated by their peers, and we are proud to call them part of our One Buncombe family. Congratulations to all on a job well done. Check out the photo album below.
Brittany Robinson (Emergency Management Specialist)- Brittany has worked in Emergency Services for 10 years. She began her career as a Dispatch Operator for Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office. She moved to a position within Buncombe County Fire Marshal's office, and now holds a Specialist position within our Emergency Management division. Brittany has worked with Health and Human Services as well as Public Health to coordinate many of the county wide vaccination sites with a focus on pediatric vaccine administration. She also played a large role in the restructure of our Search and Rescue Task Force 2 team. During the Jackson County Flood, Brittany coordinated resources for the Task Force deployment and ensured that they had what they needed readily available to best assist in water rescue efforts.
Nick Prestwood (Training Officer Emergency Medical Services Division)-Nick has been in the Emergency Services field for over 20 years. He began his career as a volunteer firefighter with Leicester Fire Department. He obtained his Paramedic certification and began working as such with Buncombe County in July of 2001. Since then, Nick has been an invaluable asset to Buncombe County EMS, providing care to our community and experience to our new employees. Nick has been in the role of Training Officer for Buncombe County EMS for almost one year now and has undertaken several large projects. Nick has ensured that our staff has access to monthly continued education classes (except for the summer months) that enrich their medical knowledge and provide tools that assist their ability to provide the best care to our patients. Nick would like to see a true FTO program with dedicated field training officers established in the coming years under his navigation.
Lisa Wilson (Administrative Support Associate III)-Lisa has contributed eight years to Emergency Services. Lisa is our billing liaison for patients who need assistance paying their bill or have questions regarding their bill or the services they have received. Lisa is also the administrative coordinator for our EMS Supervisors. She ensures that our supervisors have the resources they need to perform their jobs effectively and efficiently. Lisa enjoys working with elderly patients the most; helping them navigate their Medicare/Medicaid questions compassionately. One of the biggest hurdles that Lisa overcomes daily is helping patients to understand our billing process. Lisa constantly goes above and beyond providing the best customer services available to our community during their most frustrating times and treats each patient with a level of respect and humility that should be mirrored and recognized by our entire department.
Ashley Prestwood (Field Paramedic)-Ashley has been a Field Paramedic for 10 years, providing exceptional care for our community in their time of need. Ashley has assisted mothers in the delivery of five babies during her 10-year span. This past year, Ashley assisted our Dispatch communicators with screening calls for possible COVID patients in addition to her role as a paramedic. Ashley's efforts made it possible to better prepare our crews for the possibility of a patient infected with the COVID-19 virus. This elevated the safety of our crews by ensuring that they had the correct Personal Protective Equipment on to keep them healthy and reduce the risk of infection while caring for COVID patients. Ashley loves taking care of patients and meeting new people. First Responder mental health is one of the largest barriers facing EMS. Ashley works with coworkers who have been on bad calls to let them know that it's ok to ask for help during mental crisis.
Meredith Waldrup (Field Paramedic)-Meredith has contributed over 20 years to Emergency Services. She began her career as a Paramedic with Buncombe County in 1999 and worked as an RN in the Emergency Department at Mission Hospital for 10 years, as well as a Flight Nurse with MAMA for five years. Meredith assisted up-and-coming paramedics as a Clinical Educator for five years offering her knowledge and experience to further educate and shape the minds of some of our best paramedics. Meredith also took on the role of assisting Dispatch with screening calls during COVID in addition to her job as a Paramedic. Meredith and Ashley additionally played a large role in the coordination, development, and implementation of this year’s EMS week, recognizing the achievements of our current employees. Meredith loves meeting new patients and being out and about in the community. Meredith says that one of the biggest obstacles that she has faced in her experience, is being a woman in this industry, "20 years ago there weren't many females who were interested in this line of work,” she says. “Since then, things have gotten better. I love being a resource to new female paramedics...making them feel welcome and accepted in this agency."
Robbie Stanton (Community Paramedic)-Robbie has been a Paramedic for 33 years, over 20 of those with Buncombe County. He currently holds a position as a Community Paramedic, providing care to patients in active addiction. Robbie guides patients into recovery and provides them with suboxone treatment and safe-use resources (Narcan, Clean Needle Exchange, etc.). In the last year, Robbie has helped to structure safety for high-needs patients as well as develop two teams within the program-Community Paramedic and MAT teams. Robbie says that he works daily to help overcome the stigma of persons with addictions needing help within our community. Robbie works diligently to educate the public on the disease process and develop relationships with a population within our community that often gets overlooked.
Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office
Deputy Billy Watkins-Recently a judge at the Buncombe County Courthouse observed Deputy Watkins calm an upset citizen. The judge sent us this account: The citizen was boisterous and loudly complaining. Deputy Watkins intervened. Watkins was firm and patient with the citizen. This rather difficult person went on to mention that she had blood sugar problems. After hearing this, Deputy Watkins took the initiative to give this person his lunch. This kind of service is not required of our deputies. However, this kind of service can change the perception of the most visible element of our criminal justice system, those of us in uniform. This is just one of the positive interactions Deputy Watkins has recently displayed in his service to our community in our courthouse. He went above and beyond in appeasing this citizen and is a great candidate to be recognized as a Community Hero.
Detective Heather Welch has consistently gone above and beyond the call in her service to our community. She is always willing to help. In addition to her outstanding work in our Major Case Unit, Welch is known to volunteer in Special Investigations, and anywhere else there's a need. Heather assists in the schools and is on the Crisis Negotiations Team. On top of these, she's just a very thoughtful person; has a wonderful personality and is a pleasure to work with. Detective Heather Welch is a great candidate to be recognized as a Community Hero.
Lieutenant Richie Moffat has worked this last year as a nighttime Watch Commander. This position requires tremendous responsibility due to working at night when others are off duty, Lieutenant. Moffat takes care of his assignment without assistance. Moffat is always available even after working a long night shift; Lt. Moffat is often the first to respond to requests made during day hours. He is trusted and respected by the members of his squad. Lieutenant Moffat's support from squad members is due to how he looks out for each of them. Moffat is the kind of supervisor who would not ask a deputy to do something he has not or would not do. Lieutenant Moffat is quick to take responsibility for the actions of his squad and quick to give praise to his squad members for the success they have achieved. Lieutenant Richie Moffat is a great candidate to be recognized as a Community Hero.
Captain Jeff Littrell has done a fantastic job in his role as Jail Administrator for the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office. His role is easily the most difficult position at the sheriff’s Office in our current environment. Captain Littrell has navigated a very high liability area of responsibility with resiliency and a professional determination to make the detention facility the best that it can be. Captain Littrell has been transparent during a myriad of request to tour the detention facility by supporters and detractors alike. He has grown into this his position quite well. Littrell continues to make improvement in the detention facility. This is because Captain Littrell has the support and the trust of the staff that he leads in the detention facility at this important time in its existence. Captain Jeff Littrell is an ideal candidate to be recognized as a Community Hero.
Sergeant Mandy Ladd began her career with the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office 12 years ago as a detention officer. She is now a Sergeant supervising our transportation unit. Ladd also works as a liaison for the courts and our detention facility. Sergeant Ladd has developed a wonderful rapport with the Clerks and the Judges we support at the Buncombe County Courthouse. She continually makes sure all our detainees are safely transported as needed. Sergeant Mandy Ladd is a zero-maintenance high-performing loyal employee who has modeled professionalism for an extended period of time. Sergeant Mandy Ladd is an ideal candidate to be recognized as a Community Hero.