New Staff – First Contact Welcomes Sr. Placement Coordinator, Casey Garrison!
Casey is a “true” home-grown disciple of First Contact Ministries. Three years ago, while he was struggling with the bondage of addiction, we assisted his entry into a Christ-centered recovery program, where he spent nine months. Upon completion, he came back to us and was the first placement into our transitional house for men. Casey worked with us for one year as a volunteer, when he became a placement coordinator. He has selflessly given back to this ministry in many ways: from recovery center research to placement, and even with transporting others to rehab facilities. I have been so blessed by his progress, and am so proud of Casey. When we think of the mission of First Contact, he is a shining example of how love, care and the right guidance can help a person turn their entire life around. Please take a moment to watch his amazing testimony on our website. You, too will be blessed to see the power of God at work in changing a person’s life!
I am pleased and honored to announce we have officially placed Casey on our full-time paid staff as Sr. Placement Coordinator. Casey, though you have been here for a year, we are proud to officially “welcome” you to the First Contact Ministries staff.
Craig Halford, Director
First Contact Ministries
FIRST CONTACT would not exist without our staff & volunteer team of dedicated professionals. Thank you to all our volunteers, who sacrifice their time and efforts to help us make a positive change in our community, and accomplish our mission. The following individuals currently serve on the FIRST CONTACT team:
Craig received his Bachelors of Arts Degree in Religious Education from Gardner Webb University and his Masters of Arts degree in Religious Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been certified by SBIRT (clinical skills training) and is an NAADAC Certified Recovery Coach. He has served as Pastor, Minister of Evangelism, Education, and Youth in over 20 years of ministry. He is a board member of the Blue Ridge Prison and Jail Ministry. Craig has experienced firsthand the struggle and devastation of addiction.He has a passion for those suffering from Substance Abuse Disorder as well as family members who have had their lives dramatically affected by its consequences. He founded First Contact to help those struggling with addictions to formulate a path to recovery, and a plan to return to a life of normalcy. He serves to inform and educate families and provide comfort and support.
Ellen received her Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Administration from Western Carolina University. She has been the Executive Secretary for the NC Tomato Growers Association for over 18 years and is a native of Henderson County. Ellen recently retired from the State of North Carolina with 30 years of service in administrative office work. She has an extensive background in managing and organizing casework, budgets, and data for the N.C. Family Court and Dept. of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention systems. Ellen loves her family and enjoys singing in the church choir and playing the piano. She has experienced the loss of a loved one due to addiction. As a volunteer with First Contact since December of 2014, she has a heart for working with families dealing with loved ones in addiction and helping support them through their struggles. She wants to help others understand and deal with the pain caused by addiction.
Barb received her Bachelors of Science degree in Finance from Northern Illinois University. Her career in Accounting has spanned 35+years, the majority of which was for 2 employers: The Gillette Company (part of Procter and Gamble) and ZeniMax Media Inc. (Rockville, MD) , a video game developer and publisher. Barb has experience in most areas of Accounting as well as Financial Statement preparation, maintenance of large databases, and report creation. She retired as Sr. Accountant from ZeniMax Media in 2015.
Barb feels richly blessed by God to be able to retire early and live in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. She is thankful for the opportunity and desire to remain productive in retirement and has been a First Contact volunteer since July 2017. Barb works with our outside Accountants to facilitate the accurate processing of our Accounting and Financial Statement preparation.
Director of Intake & Life Enhancement Center
Chastity has a heart for helping women in addiction. Her desire is to lead them to Christ. She listens to their needs and issues and takes the appropriate action to guide them toward healing and restoration.
Chastity and her husband, John, attend King’s Grove Baptist Church where Chastity sings in the choir.
Chastity has been involved in the Hendersonville County Jail Ministry for several years and has been the moving force to help the women go from jail to a Christ-centered recovery program. She refers them to First Contact who works diligently meet the individual needs of each woman.
Joshua comes from a professional background of manufacturing and engineering. However, he grew up in a family corrupted by addiction, violence, isolation, and incarceration. Adopting these destructive habits, he began his own struggles with addiction and substance abuse around the age of 13. At the age of 32, Josh was an alcoholic, substance abuser and an atheist. Realizing he had come to the end of himself and had nowhere else to turn, he gave his life to Christ.
A few years after his conversion, Chastity invited him to come be a men’s coach at First Contact. Since then, Josh has developed our Overcome curriculum and leads the men’s class while his wife, Kodi, leads the women’s Overcome class.
Personally, the Lord has blessed him and stretched him to grow with various opportunities that were never on his radar: he and his wife adopting children from the foster care system, helping others in addiction, and a direction to use the talent to write for God’s glory.
Josh realizes that if it wasn’t for Jesus’ work on the cross, even while Josh rejected Him, none of this would be possible (Romans 5:8). He also wants to thank all of the coaches and volunteers that dedicate their time to help this ministry and everyone who is blessed by it.
Job Placement Ministry Director
Margaret was born and raised in London, England and still has family in that area. She came to the States in the late 60’s, and even after all of these many years here, she has still managed to keep her accent!
During her time in London, England she was working with an employment agency. On coming to the states she purchased an employment agency seeking jobs for temporary and permanent positions.
During her working career, she was self-employed for the majority of that time and owned three separate businesses in Charlotte.
Bob and Margaret moved to Hendersonville in 2001. They will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary in September. They are the proud parents of 4 children, and 5 granddaughters ranging in age from 4 to 23 years old.
She was motivated to volunteer at First Contact after losing a daughter 4 years ago to alcoholism. In addition to working at the Resale Store, she is also the Job Placement Ministry Director for First Contact. Her primary responsibilities include finding job opportunities for those that graduate from the First Contact program. These two volunteer jobs give her a great deal of satisfaction by helping others.
Sr. Placement Coordinator
Casey has filled a much needed, behind the scenes role at First Contact. His industry specific knowledge and proactive spirit helps the ministry make moves seamlessly and efficiently. He struggled with his own addiction for many years. With his life out of control he finally hit “rock bottom” and received God’s help through, none other than, First Contact Ministries. After completing a residential rehabilitation program, he quickly became an intern staff member there. He later returned to North Carolina where upon he volunteered on a full-time basis with First Contact. He then became a full-time staff member and an integral part of day to day operations.
Casey has committed himself to continuing his education in biblical studies and counseling. His passion for those in need of recovery knows no bounds and his compassion and understanding is a divine gift that continues to shine through him.
Bonnie has navigated the rolls of accounting clerk and office manager for the last forty years within the medical field and the business community. She and her husband Steve retired here in Hendersonville to be closer to their children and grandchildren. They attend Mud Creek Baptist Church where they volunteer regularly. Bonnie has known, loved and walked with the Lord for forty-three years.
Bonnie brings a level of expertise and professionalism that fits perfectly within the First Contact Addiction Ministry family. She loves this ministry and constantly goes above and beyond what is expected in order to ensure that the logistics of the ministry are well attended to.
Denise brings over 26 years of experience in the Health Care Industry in Accounts Receivable Billing and Collection Management. With this type of experience, she is well qualified to serve First Contact Addiction Ministry. Two of those years were with HCA Westlake Hospital and 5 years was with the University of Behavioral Center in Orlando, Fl, both being Inpatient and Outpatient facilities with treatment programs for alcohol and drug addiction. She retired after 14 years from an independently owned Compounding Pharmacy which specialized in pain management.
Denise feels that the years of experience, knowledge, and understanding in these areas of health care was simply God’s way of preparing her to be led in July of 2017 to serve the Lord at First Contact Addiction Ministries.
ReSale Store Manager