NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – Two new leaders have been appointed by New Hanover County in the Community Justice Services Department and the Veteran Services Department.
Chris Preston has been chosen to serve as Community Justice Services Director starting October 8, after serving as interim director since July of this year. He joined the county in 2009 and has held supervisory roles of increasing responsibility within Community Justice Services since 2010.
“It is an incredible honor to lead such a dedicated group of professionals who serve our community with distinction day in and day out” said Preston. “I look forward continuing the innovative approach to serving the citizens of New Hanover County that has been a hallmark of Community Justice Services.”
Preston’s background is in behavioral health and human services in the Wilmington area since 1997. Prior to working with the county, he served as a Staff Psychologist and Local Mental Health Unit Coordinator and Substance Abuse Specialist for Southeastern Center for Mental Health. Preston received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from East Carolina University and a Master’s Degree from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in Clinical Psychology. He is a graduate of the UNCW/NHC SERVE Professional Development Academy, and UNCW’s Academy for Strategic Management.
In addition, Betsy Graham is the county’s new Veteran Services Officer. She began in this position in June 2019, after serving for a year as the county’s Veterans Services Specialist, providing administrative support and assisting Veterans and their dependents with managing Veteran benefits on the federal, state, and county level.
“My passion is to serve all people, and I hold a special place in my heart for those who serve this country and those who love and support our servicemen and women,” said Graham. “My mother was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and I understand the sacrifice and dedication of our Veterans and their families. I make it my mission each day to serve them and help them get the benefits they need and deserve.”
Graham has nine years of experience in social work and working with Veterans. Prior to coming to New Hanover County, she served as the Veteran Services Officer with the Orange County Department of Social Services in Hillsborough, NC. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from UNC Greensboro and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Chicago.
“New Hanover County is fortunate to have both Chris and Betsy leading the work to improve our community’s wellbeing,” said County Manager Chris Coudriet. “These two departments are doing powerful things to serve the public, and I know that will continue and thrive under their leadership.”
Community Justice Services helps those who are at-risk or are previous offenders, offering them help and a positive path forward. Veteran Services helps connect veterans and their families with the benefits and assistance they need.