Congratulations to all the 2024 Tin Man Nominees!

Tin Man Biggest Heart AwardIn 2015, the Carousel Center began the Heart of the Matter & Tin Man Awards event as a way to recognize the dedication of our partners, both volunteers and professional community members, the unsung heroes in the fight against child abuse.  They are the heart of how Carousel can offer services to the child victims of abuse, neglect, and maltreatment who come to our child advocacy center each year.

This year, a new category was added to recognize Community Prevention Advocates to recognize community prevention advocate who goes above and beyond to prevent children from experiencing abuse.

Why Tin Man? In the iconic 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, the Tin Man character traveled to The Emerald City with Dorothy because he believed he needed a heart from The Wizard. In reality, he had the biggest heart. The Tin Man was humble, loving, caring, and compassionate.

The Tin Man Awards celebrates and recognizes members of our community who help build resiliency in child abuse survivors and provide exceptional service to children and/or their families in New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender Counties.

NEW!! 2024 Tin Man Community Prevention Advocate Nominees

Parker Davis, CEO, Scottship Solutions

In 2022, Carousel Child Advocacy Center (CCAC) initiated a campaign to educate 35,000 adults on preventing child sexual abuse, with over 5,000 individuals trained by the close of 2023. Data management quickly became overwhelming. Previously reliant on manual entry into Excel worksheets, the Education/Prevention department faced significant time constraints and capacity limitations.

In response, Parker donated substantial time to analyze the Dept.’s processes, understand present needs and future aspirations, implement automation, and monitor results to ensure accurate data. His technology solutions eliminated several hours of administrative work each week.

Thanks to Parker’s efforts, our data now reveals a 19.9% increase in participants’ knowledge and confidence to intervene on behalf of a child. This valuable contribution has allowed us to collaborate with UNCW for the publication of these findings as well as proceed forward with an innovative CSA prevention research study launched in January 2024.

Tanya Jordan

Tanya DeShields Jordan – New Hanover County Schools- Retired

In 2022, Tanya Jordan joined CCAC’s Prevention Initiative as a Facilitator of Stewards of Children CSAP curriculum.

As the Sup. of Elementary School Counseling, Tanya advocated passionately for NHCS to partner with Carousel to train every faculty member, conduct environmental scans of facilities, and connect NHCS staff with local resources. Her efforts produced powerful, unprecedented results.

Rhonda Newton, CEO of D2L, issued a statement honoring this achievement: “To date, NHCS District is the largest school district in North Carolina to achieve the Partner in Prevention designation. 45 schools and over 2,800 dedicated employees have committed to building a prevention-oriented community that will keep children safe. These remarkable leaders in education have been trained to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. This outstanding effort will undoubtedly pave the way for creating safe environments in NHC for generations to come.”

Tanya, you have raised the bar!

Thanks to Parker’s efforts, our data now reveals a 19.9% increase in participants’ knowledge and confidence to intervene on behalf of a child. This valuable contribution has allowed us to collaborate with UNCW for the publication of these findings as well as proceed forward with an innovative CSA prevention research study launched in January 2024.

2024 Tin Man Community Volunteer Nominees

Audrey Cox, NC Guardian ad Litem Program

Audrey Cox is an incredible Guardian ad Litem volunteer. She pours her heart into every case she is appointed to and loves every child she serves. Audrey is always willing to go above and beyond for each case to ensure the child’s needs are met. Audrey has been identified as a rock star by an Assistant District Attorney following a heavy criminal trial, stating that he was not sure the child would have been as comfortable or testified so well without Audrey’s support. Audrey is an incredibly thoughtful volunteer who always puts the child’s best interest first in every case she serves. Audrey listens to the individual needs of the child and is there for them in any way they need her to be. I have known Audrey to take a child out on an outing with their sister for shopping and lunch when they had a bad week because she understands that family time is essential to them. Audrey has spent time traveling out of New Hanover County every month and makes herself available for phone calls, meetings, and visits to guarantee that the child is seen, heard, and advocated for. Internal and external stakeholders recognize Audrey as she is a valuable asset to any child and family team she is appointed to. Audrey is always willing to carry the maximum caseload and has even requested more than the maximum.

Larry Sackett – Carousel Center Marketing Committee Volunteer

Larry Sackett volunteers for the Caorusel’s Marketing Committee. He has shared his years of experience working for a major National newspaper to the advantage of Carousel.  He also recruited his wife, Carla Henricks, a talented writer, who has shared her skills to help with press releases and the first draft of the new marketing brochure.  

In addition to his time on the Marketing Committee, he has offered his knowledge by assisting with Carousel’s website.  During the organization’s rebranding, he updated the landing page and retooled it with the new branding look and colors. His time and efforts have been invaluable and have saved the organization much money that can be used for helping the children.  He gives his time, talent, and treasure. He is a G.E.M. (monthly donor) and ‘adopted’ a family in Carousel’s Holiday Hugs program.  

This nominee has been a loyal volunteer since he first attended his first Heart of the Matter event, learning about what Carousel does and the state of child abuse in our community.  This nominee is kind and humble.  He also volunteers for other organizations, the Arboretum and Rotary Club of Wilmington. He is always willing and able to answer a call for help when the website is not working as it should or when a document needs reviewing.   

2024 Tin Man Community Professional Nominees

Meredith Lloyd, Brunswick County Schools       

Meredith has a profound impact. Her roles are varied – School Counselor Specialist, District Section 504 Contact, McKinney Vento, and Foster Care Lead – but her mission is singular: to champion the needs of every child. Meredith’s approach is a blend of compassion and action. She ensures every Brunswick County Schools staff member is equipped with knowledge about the Carousel Child Advocacy Center, amplifying the support network for our children.

Her “BIGGEST HEART OF ALL” is shown in her daily advocacy and commitment to child welfare, particularly for those affected by abuse and neglect. Meredith Lloyd doesn’t just perform her role; she lives it, fostering a safe and supportive environment for the most vulnerable. Her relentless pursuit to better the lives of our students makes her the embodiment of the Tin Man Award.

Lance Oehrlein, New Hanover County, Assistant District Attorney NC 6th Prosecutorial District

Lance’s work ethic, tenacity, and compassion are unequaled among the MDT partners for CCAC. He is a voice for children – the children of the Cape Fear community who have experienced physical/sexual abuse or neglect.  I had the good fortune to be prepared by this nominee the first time I testified in Superior court. This nominee took the time and space to walk me through the process, answer any questions I might have, and work with me until I felt prepared. I am not sure how he does it, but he made me feel like I had all the knowledge and power to help these children by testifying, as well as making me know it did not simply rest on my shoulders. I often remind myself of how he instilled courage in me for that case and all the cases since then. I rarely get to see him during a trial, except when on the stand, but their communication with me is consistent from case preparation to verdict and sentencing.  He is always encouraging CCAC Team members- what may seem insignificant to others- he is sure to say a few words of encouragement when testifying, and once completed – he always tells you how much he appreciates what Carousel does!!

In one specific case, this nominee really stood out. He prepped for the case multiple times over a year or more while delays, continuances, and the like kept happening. By the time the actual case was going to trial, the child survivor was unable to testify. This trial showcased this nominee’s mettle – this is where his heart shined bright. Without the voice of the child victim, he was able to tell that child’s truth while remaining compassionate and caring to everyone in the courtroom who would be hearing the details. He ensured trauma therapists were available to provide guidance and direction to anyone overwhelmed by the case information. He passionately and compassionately provided closing arguments that emphasized what was at stake and strongly advocated for sentencing and the child’s and family’s safety. There are many ways this nominee has the “biggest heart.” His primary concern is ALWAYS the child – their needs, their fears. But he also tries to prepare witnesses, calm fears, and instill confidence. He supports Carousel’s mission and vision and remains steadfast to keep it strong and accredited. He ensures child survivors have a voice and access to justice. He attends MDT case reviews, is ready with information, and is always engaged. The Carousel Team relies on this nominee for his expertise and advice regarding testifying or clarifying cases in other counties. He is always available to discuss and help us understand the court proceedings, answer questions we may have, or give guidance in other ways. He works with MDT partners to discuss outcomes so that everyone understands the why regarding the criminal justice system’s limitations. To say this nominee’s heart is huge and that he exemplifies the Tin Man is an understatement.  He does everything he can to ease the burdens of the child and each of the MDT partners. He is compassionate and giving every day while remaining humble and shining the spotlight on others, highlighting their accomplishments. This living, breathing Tin Man is very deserving of the Award for Biggest Heart of All!

Denise Riccobon – Novant Health

This nominee made it her mission to be the link between Carousel and hospital visits of child victims served by both agencies. Her involvement improved access to review records, Child Medical Evaluations (CME) processes, and the ability to clarify any concerns in real time. She calls Carousel with any concerns she has had about the initial care of children, keeping Carousel’s Team apprised of changes in hospital care, such as forensic nurses’ assistance for certain ER visits. This nominee works tirelessly to support the mission of Carousel. She is available 24/7 for the Carousel team to consult, question, or clarify specific issues with children seen for SANE exams. She attends Multi-Displinary (MDT) Team monthly meetings and provides information on children seen and what follow up has occurred.  We are unsure when she sleeps, as she has never missed a call. She provides updates monthly on the number of SANE-P exams completed and does great work for the Cape Fear community. Thanks to this nominee, children and caregivers have greatly improved their understanding of the process from SANE to CME. She works daily to improve the knowledge of all SANE-P nurses, ensures training and education are complete, and mentors many to work throughout the hospital system in all of Cape Fear counties.

A specific “BIG HEART” example for this nominee: she recently saw a child who came in, for now, a second, separate SANE-Pediatric exam. There were issues identified at this second visit that increased her concern for the safety of this child. She voiced her concerns to the DSS worker and LE, then reached out to CCAC to discuss her concerns in preparation for the pending CME. She did not stop until she had made sure the community partners and CCAC were all aware to ensure the safety of that child. Her commitment to children and the community includes a commitment to CCAC. With her involvement, communication is frequent, questions can be answered quickly, and she ensures that the Carousel Team has the information needed to facilitate the best Child Medical Evaluation.

She strongly advocates for children and the relationship between SANE-P nurses and CCAC. She is a great example of a big heart – she works for the children, the community, partners, and Carousel’s Team to ensure children have the best care during their most difficult times.

Christine Schuler – District Attorney Victim Witness Legal Assistant

This nominee is a Victim Witness Legal Assistant for the NHC DA’s Office. I have seen her interact with survivors, staff, community partners, and everyone at CCAC. She is the utmost professional and is incredibly willing to help in any way she can. She maintains contact with all case witnesses and professionals while assisting the case DA, making sure everyone is aware of what is happening and where they are supposed to be. She looks for ways to make you feel comfortable.

Watching them with survivors and families- the compassion, calming presence, and thoughtful and respectful care she provides- is incredible.

This nominee is seamless in her duties; she is always willing to find an answer to keep you updated and ensure you know how the court process is proceeding. Case witnesses are often sequestered, so having someone keep us in the loop is essential, not just during our testimony but also when the trial is concluded, to let us know the outcome. Knowing someone cares enough to communicate the verdict and sentencing so we can know right away is heartening.  This nominee’s heart is all in!! She takes the time to know the child survivor, his/her family, and the MDT partners and gives us respect and communication. She always does it with grace and humility. She really has the Tin Man’s heart!

Rachel Stearns

This nominee is relatively new to the Cape Fear community, but based on her actions so far, she will be a dynamite addition to the team!! It was clear right from the start that she came with a solid working knowledge of the CPS world and child advocacy work. Having only had a few cases with this person, she is dedicated to the children in the community and works tirelessly to ensure their safety. She has been the investigator in a few complex, severe, and sad cases. She attends the CME prepared and pleasant as if she had been here for years.

Rachel Stearns – Pender County Department of Social Services

Rachel is relatively new to the Cape Fear Community. Based on her actions so far, she will be a dynamite addition to the team!! It was clear right from the start that she came with a strong working knowledge of the CPS world and child advocacy work. Having only had a few cases with this person, she is dedicated to the children in the community and works tirelessly to ensure their safety. She has been the investigator in a few complex, severe, and sad cases. She attends the CME prepared and pleasant as if she had been here for years.

Experiencing Crimes Against Children and/or Child Protective Services can sometimes bring about an attitude of ‘having seen it all.’ She treats each new case with the same compassion and care. She provides details of the case, showing her interest in every aspect of a child’s life. Hers is not just a job; it is a vocation.

She is always prepared for the case; she is also actively engaged and follows up with any information that is asked of her. She is an advocate for each child. She has quickly become an integral part of the team. She is involved in a complex case; One of the children is in the hospital; she quickly obtains the summary for that child as it pertains to the siblings in the same household, updates the Carousel Team regarding the child in the hospital regularly, and guides the investigation to ensure that the safest and healthiest outcome for all of these children is paramount, as well as holding their abuser accountable.

Crystal Williams – Brunswick County, Department of Social Services

Crystal brings a unique perspective and plethora of knowledge from her background in law enforcement. She is professional, objective, compassionate, and committed to the children and families she serves. During a recent challenging case, it was evident she had built a strong rapport and trusting relationship with the children as they immediately flashed big smiles when seeing her. She listens to the family’s needs and works hard to support them, promoting resilience.

Crystal is constantly prepared when presenting cases. She works hard to understand the “big picture” without bias or judgment. She advocates for the safety and well-being of the children she serves while listening and responding to the family’s needs. We are fortunate to have her serving our community!

Previous Tin Man “Biggest Heart” Award Winners

Community Professional of the Year

Lance Oehrlein, NHC District Attorney, NC 9th District

Community Volunteer of the Year

Audrey Cox, NC Guardian ad Litem Program

NEW Category in 2024
Community Prevention Advocate of the Year

Tanya Jordan


Daniel Ruisueño – Wilmington Police Department


Linda King – Carousel Center Volunteer – Greeter


Detective Sydni Starnes, New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office


Beth Bell, Carousel Center Volunteer – Greeter

Community Volunteer

CarpetSmart of Wilmington

2021 Tin Man Awards

Jon Blackburn

2021 Tin Man Awards  Detective Stephen Baize, Brunswick County Sheriff’s Department


Professional Volunteer       

Jason W. Smith, Assistant District Attorney,             
Sixth Prosecutorial District


Professional                                                           Volunteer

Detective Chawana Moore-Johnson                Justin Sorrells
New Hanover County Sherriff’s Office            GLOW Academy


Professional:                                  Volunteer:

Detective Holt Wooddell                   Danielle Boisse
Wilmington Police Department       Port City Design Group



Marino, Wanda – Assistant Director-New Hanover DSS


Vandenberg, Angelena – Volunteer Therapist – UNCW School of Social Work



Clinard, Steve – Det. Sgt. Pender County Sheriff’s Office


Snyder, Michael – Carousel Center Greeter

Community Professional – Awarded to the Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) members who were present at the official National Children’s Alliance Site Visit on December 10, 2014, and made it possible for The Carousel Center, Inc. to achieve full Child Advocacy Center Accreditation Status:

Amy Horgan, CoastalCare

Colleen Mistovitch, New Hanover Regional Medical Center

Det. Peter Oehl, Wilmington Police Department

Lance Oehrlein, Assistant District Attorney – NC 5th Judicial District

Det. Justin Ovaska, Wilmington Police Department

Amy Phillips, Rape Crisis Center of Coastal Horizons Center, Inc.

Kari Sanders, New Hanover County Department of Social Services

Det. Kelly Sellers, New Hanover County Sheriff’s Department

Det. Mike Tenney, Wilmington Police Department

Lt. Thomas Tilmon, Wilmington, Police Department

Det. Amy Womble, New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office

Community Volunteer – Awarded to community volunteer(s) who go above and beyond in their efforts to assist child victims of abuse through thick and thin.  These Biggest Hearts in the Cape Fear Community give of their time, energy, talents, and/or financially to ensure The Carousel Center remains available for children and families who need Child Advocacy Center services:

Bill & Debbie Rudisill

Register to attend the Heart of the Matter & Tin Man Awards luncheon