Heart of the Matter

2021 Heart of the Matter & Tin Man Awards
7th Once A Year Fundraiser – Virtually

This once-a-year event raises much needed funds to meet the needs of the Carousel Center.
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.

Join us and be our partner in hope. Contact Laurie Taylor, Development Manager at 910-254-9898.

Thank you for your support! #justtryingtohlpsomekids

Congratulations to all the 2021 Tin Man Nominees!

In 2015, the Carousel Center began the Heart of the Matter Fundraising event and wanted 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 our community, and they are continually the heart of how The Carousel Center is able to offer healing services to the child victims of abuse/neglect and maltreatment, who utilize our Child Advocacy Center each year.

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 all along. The Tin Man was humble, loving, caring, and compassionate.

2021 Tin Man Community Volunteer of the Year

2021 Tin Man Awards

Carpet Smart of Wilmington – Jon Blackburn has consistently and tirelessly shared ALL THREE – time, talent, AND treasure to support Carousel’s Children. In 2013, without hesitation, Jon and CarpetSmart provided whatever was needed to aid in better acoustics in Forensic Interview Rooms for capturing children’s disclosures. Next, Jon agreed to serve as a “Celebrity Bartender” for a night and collect tips for his favorite charity! Never one to turn down a challenge, he worked his tail off that evening and chose the Carousel Center as his charity of choice!

Jon and the CarpetSmart Team are HEAVY HITTERS when there’s an emergency!  They moved mountains to pull together resources to assist Carousel to replace damaged flooring in the main New Hanover County building due to flooding after Hurricane Florence and did it AGAIN in Fall 2020 after another flood in the same building.  Even during a global pandemic, Jon and the CarpetSmart Team rallied a community network of flooring tradespeople, manufacturers, etc. to facilitate an immediate flooring “make-over” for New Hanover County Annex to prepare it and make it ready for Carousel’s Team to expand and serve our Kiddos!

If all of this wasn’t enough, Jon and CarpetSmart are die-hard sponsors for Carousel Center’s annual Making Legends Local Gala, and are big fans of Carousel Center’s Voracious & Rare Beer Tasting event on the Battleship USS North Carolina fantail!

Jon Blackburn and the CarpetSmart Team are always ready, willing, and actually step right up and in to do the work – that is a precious commodity indeed. Saying “THANK YOU!” to them just seems completely inadequate! Carousel wants the world to know how appreciative and grateful we are that CarpetSmart chose Carousel Center to benefit from their loving care.

2021 Tin Man Community Professional of the Year

2021 Tin Man Awards

Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Detective Stephen Baize consistently utilizes TCC to support his investigations of crimes against children and a valued MDT partner in Brunswick County. He goes above and beyond the call of duty to help children through the CAC and criminal justice processes and makes himself available for child survivors and their grown-ups. Det. Baize is sensitive to the many needs of the diverse Brunswick County populations, respecting their diversity while remaining unbiased and focused on obtaining justice.  He does all he can to make sure child survivors feel safe while attempting to prevent further harm and/or trauma throughout the investigative process. He is a steward of children and exemplifies the “biggest heart of all” – seeking justice for children, committed to their resilience, supporting all efforts for the healing of the entire family, and strengthening the Brunswick community through his dedicated efforts.

2021 Tin Man Community Professional Nominees

2021 Tin Man Awards

New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office Detective Will Campbell is dedicated to finding victims hidden among the hustle and bustle of communities.  Victims were generally seen but not recognized as victims.  Human trafficking is present in the Cape Fear Area, like everywhere.  Det. Campbell conducts exhaustive investigations to shine the light on the horrors these victims endure. Often, human trafficking victims do not even comprehend that they are victims, they are just trying to survive from day-to-day. Human trafficking investigations always include victims who are marginalized, on the run, and desperately in need of help. Many are children under the age of 18. Many are runaways. These survivors are untrusting (understandably so), and et. Campbell spends a great deal of his investigative time earning their trust with his obvious compassion for their plight and by treating them with respect and dignity, something that is often nonexistent in their experiences. Det. Campbell is a dedicated Detective making a difference in the lives of young people who are enduring horrific experiences and who feel they have no value.

Brunswick County Assistant District Attorney Jenna Earley & Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Detective Stephen Baize are nominated together because of one particular case. Each worked on this particular case in such a caring and compassionate manner, going above and beyond what was needed to ensure that the outcome was the absolute best that it could be. Detective Baize worked this case (which had more than one victim) and never lost sight

that it was children that were involved- young children. Collaborating all along with this investigation, ADA Early was aware of some circumstances that impacted why “justice” in this case might look different… that what’s best for these child victims may include a unique solution.  They inquired and learned all about Carousel’s group work in the field of Problem Sexualized Behavior (PSB)- a specialized treatment option for children initiating inappropriate sexual behaviors with other children. Both wanted to be able to speak about this specific alternative to their respective supervisor for one of the children in this case as an alternative to pursuing charges and to give this initiating child what was truly needed – treatment. Both Det. Baize and ADA Early worked hard for the best resolution, working closely with the TCC Team and the children and their grown-ups – impacting a child’s life in the most positive manner-with the best future for all the victims involved in this case. They knew this alternative was best for the child and family and knew that going through court/legal proceedings would not benefit anyone. This Nominee DUO definitely their BIGGEST HEARTS for these kids!

2021 Tin Man Awards

Brunswick County Assistant District Attorney Jason Minnicozzi & New Hanover County Assistant District Attorney Lance Oehrlein here is another DUO Nominee Team- are strong, compassionate, empathetic partners to Carousel. Always striving to prepare their cases and witnesses better, they worked for many hours setting up a “mock trial” for the education of Carousel’s Team, especially those who likely would testify in court for cases that Carousel facilitated. Invaluable for new Carousel Professionals to see the courtroom and know how the questions are asked, so they could be better prepared should they be subpoenaed to testify in a future case. ADAs Oehrlein and Minnicozzi reviewed several old (already adjudicated) cases in order to set up the elements of “mock trial” education scenarios.  One ADA as prosecutor & defense attorneys; one ADA as the Judge, they facilitated the educational exercise like a real case.  Just like real-life cases, ADAs Oehrlein and Minnicozzi treated “mock trial” like every case – in a systematic and compassionate way, educating Carousel Team, victims, and families to prepare them for trial and provide everyone with an understanding of the complex criminal justice process.  For them, each case is the most important because it allows them to seek justice for a child in a court of law; but also, because they know this is the best way for a child victim to tell their truth. These ADAs definitely have the “Biggest Hearts of All.”

2021 Tin Man Awards

Wilmington Police Detective Cassandra Morales is relatively new to this type of work. Det. Morales hit the ground running, not only in criminal investigations for child physical/sexual abuse cases but also is dedicated to contacting Carousel regularly to check on cases, to follow up on family progress, unmet needs, or services. Even on a case that was now in the hands of another detective, she followed up – because she wanted to make sure, that Carousel’s Team had all the information needed from law enforcement. Det. Morales demonstrates caring and compassion, she works well with all MDT partners and is prepared, professional, and objective for all her cases. With the non-offending, adult caregivers, Det. Morales is gentle and caring – a calming presence; even when the information discussed is heartbreaking and hard to stand firm as the case progresses, she shows empathy and compassion for Carousel children and their families.

2021 Tin Man Awards

Pender DSS Investigator, Austin Pierce is relatively new to crimes against children, but you would not know it by his compassionate, caring attitude. He gives his best in every situation. In a recent shared case, a child was being considered for a foster care placement, but not before Mr. Pierce gave his all to give the parents every opportunity and resource to allow them to successfully maintain their family together, ensuring the child’s safety during each step of the way. He does not let his families down. He consistently follows up, follows through, and what he says he will do, he does. He is dedicated to the best outcome for the child- and provides his families with support and information – every step of the way.

New Hanover County Assistant District Attorney Lance Oehrlein & Brunswick County Assistant District Attorney Jason Minnicozzi – another DUO Nominee Team- are strong, compassionate, empathetic partners to Carousel. Always striving to prepare their cases and witnesses better, they worked for many hours setting up a “mock trial” for the education of Carousel’s Team, especially those who likely would testify in court for cases that Carousel facilitated. Invaluable for new Carousel Professionals to see the courtroom and know how the questions are asked, so they could be better prepared should they be subpoenaed to testify in a future case. ADAs Oehrlein and Minnicozzi reviewed several old (already adjudicated) cases in order to set up the elements of “mock trial” education scenarios.  One ADA as prosecutor & defense attorneys; one ADA as the Judge, they facilitated the educational exercise like a real case.  Just like real-life cases, ADAs Oehrlein and Minnicozzi treated “mock trial” like every case – in a systematic and compassionate way, educating Carousel Team, victims, and families to prepare them for trial and provide everyone with an understanding of the complex criminal justice process.  For them, each case is the most important because it allows them to seek justice for a child in a court of law; but also, because they know this is the best way for a child victim to tell their truth. These ADAs definitely have the “Biggest Hearts of All.”

2021 Tin Man Awards

New Hanover County Sheriff’s Department, Detective Matthew Whitt is a Crimes Against Children Detective investigating countless cases of physical and sexual abuse of children. He’s a regular face at the Carousel Center. Det. Whitt consistently advocates for the child victims in his cases and always strives to do what’s in the child’s and their family’s best interests.  Not always easy to accomplish, and he’s often willing to go the extra mile in investigating his cases, even assisting other detectives on their cases, frequently sacrificing his own personal life. Being a dad himself, Det. Whitt truly cares for each of his child victims and ensures that their voices are heard.

2021 Tin Man Awards

Burgaw Police Department, Detective Sergeant Lee Williams has been working in the Criminal Investigations Division since July 2017.  Det. Sgt. Williams is a focused and caring Child Crimes detective, and is tenacious to get justice for child survivors through the countless hours traveling out of town to conduct interviews, further investigations through collateral evidence options, and making arrests in an attempt to bring closure and justice to these children and their families. Det. Sgt. Williams is particularly aware of the impact of exposure to domestic violence in homes.  Whether DV is the primary issue for the case investigation or not, Det. Sgt Williams ensures that cases, where kids are exposed to Domestic Violence in their homes, remain just as important for the Pender community to address as any physical/sexual abuse and/or neglect cases.  Det. Sgt. Williams truly has a heart of gold and stands in as an advocate for justice.

2021 Tin Man Community Volunteer Nominees

2021 Tin Man Awards
2021 Tin Man Awards

Natural Sanitizing Solutions – Chris Nesselrode.  2020 was a unique year, Carousel services are considered essential, therefore Child Medical Evaluations for reports of child physical/sexual abuse and/or neglect never slowed down for a second. In a global pandemic, how does an agency like Carousel meet its mission, while ensuring the safety and well-being of staff, clients, and community partners?  Natural Sanitizing Solutions to the rescue.  They are a unique service, providing unlimited natural sanitizing products to Carousel facilities and also donating their professional time and expertise to come to treat Carousel facilities and teach the Carousel Team best practices.  Their product is an environmentally responsible product – so it’s safe for our kiddos, staff, and partners while keeping everyone better protected from COVID-19.

2021 Tin Man Awards

Previous Tin Man “Biggest Heart” Award Winners

2019 

Professional Volunteer       

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

2019

Professional                                                           Volunteer

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

2018   

Professional:                                  Volunteer:

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

2017

Professional:

Marino, Wanda – Assistant Director-New Hanover DSS

Volunteer:

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

2016   

Professional:

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

Volunteer:

Snyder, Michael – Carousel Center Greeter

2015 – Inaugural       

Professionals – NCA Accreditation MDT Members:

Horgan, Amy – Trillium Behavioral Healthcare

Mistovich, Colleen – NHRMC Emergency Department

Oehl, Peter – WPD Detective

Oehrlein, Lance – 5th Judicial District ADA

Ovaska, Justin – WPD Detective

Phillips, Amy – Rape Crisis Center of Coastal Horizons

Sanders, Kari – New Hanover DSS

Sellers, Kelly – New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office

Tenney, Mike – WPD Detective

Tilmon, Thomas – WPD Detective Sgt.

Womble, Amy – New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office

 

Volunteers:

Rudisill, Bill & Debbie