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Mercer appointed to state military commission

Rocky Mount native retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. James Mercer has been appointed to the state’s Military Affairs Commission by Gov. Roy Cooper.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be named to the North Carolina Military Affairs Commission,” Mercer said. “It’s a great organization and it has an important purpose and mission in North Carolina.”

The 25-member state Military Affairs Commission advises the governor, lawmakers, the secretary of commerce and other state agencies on activities and legislation promoting the role of North Carolina’s military installations in national defense strategy and the state’s economy.

Mercer said that the Military Affairs Commission works hard to improve the quality of life of military personnel and families and veterans in North Carolina.

Mercer sees quality-of-life issues for veterans and military personnel and their families as a top priority of the commission.

The military affairs commission’s goals include protecting North Carolina’s existing military bases and installations and leading the state’s efforts to prepare for any possible troop reductions, base realignment and closures.

Mercer brings to the military affairs commission an extensive background in military service.

He served in the U.S. Army, U. S. Army Reserves and the N.C. National Guard for more than 35 years, retiring in 2013 with the rank of lieutenant colonel. During the Iraq War, he served one tour of duty in 2003 with the 3rd U.S. Army Division.

Throughout his military career, Mercer held command and staff positions at company, battalion, brigade and group level commands.

In his dual military career, he managed emergency management and homeland security agencies with Edgecombe County, Fayetteville State University and the City of Raleigh. He currently heads the Military Studies department at N.C. Wesleyan College.

Mercer has served and held management positions in civic and professional organizations. He is a Deacon at Thornes Chapel Missionary Baptist Church and is serving as vice chairman of the NCC Board of Trustees.

Mercer received a bachelor’s degree from Shaw University and a master’s degree from Grace College and Seminary.

He is married to Delois Mercer. They have one son and four daughters.

State lawmakers tour NCC campus

Nash Community College recently welcomed Nash County’s state legislative delegation for a campus tour, including state Reps. James Gailliard and Matthew Winslow and state Sen. Lisa Stone Barnes.

The leaders attended a breakfast with NCC Student Government Association officers, student ambassadors, members of the Board of Trustees and senior leadership.

Following introductions and an overview, NCC President Lew Hunnicutt led the group on a campus tour including visits to culinary, the student success center, nursing, advanced manufacturing, cosmetology, fire and emergency management, basic law enforcement and the commercial truck driving simulator.

“We are grateful for the support and advocacy of these leaders on behalf of the N.C. Community College System, including Nash Community College,” Hunnicutt said. “We want to make sure they know and understand our college’s story and the unique impact our campus makes each day on the quality of life for citizens in Nash County and beyond.”

The tour highlighted the Student Success Network, as well as customized industry and workforce training opportunities available at Nash Community College.

“I remain in contact with each delegate regularly, and each has been invited back individually for more in-depth tours,” Hunnicutt said.

Hunnicutt said he plans to set up legislative days in the future so that lawmakers will be aware of events on campus.

The campus also recently received a visit from N.C. Community College System President Thomas Stith.

Stith talked with students and team members in the NCC Success Center, which connects students with coaching, academic advising, enrollment, tutoring services and on-campus resources such as the food pantry and Single Stop — a system used to determine student eligibility for access to public benefits and community resources and other support services.

Stith and Hunnicutt met first responders and participated in an Emergency Medical Services simulation. Located in the Continuing Education Building, the in-classroom ambulance or “SimRig” is a high-fidelity training mannequin that uses computer hardware to allow students to practice and respond to a variety of scenarios to replicate real-world experiences.

The campus tour also included College and Career Readiness, NCC’s indoor firing range and the Haas Center for Advanced Manufacturing Computer-Integrated Machining and Robotics labs.

The tour concluded at the Electric Line Construction training field, where Stith addressed electric lineworkers at a Pole Top Rescue Competition.

Nash UNC earns third straight high rating

Nash UNC Health Care has received its third consecutive Grade A from The Leapfrog Group in its Fall 2021 report for hospitals.

The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization that collects and reports hospital performance data and works with national experts to establish standards to which all participating hospitals are measured against.

“Thanks to our board’s leadership, the partnership of our medical staff and the commitment from our staff, we now have three consecutive A ratings to reflect the high quality, consistent care we provide to our patients and community each and every day,” said Lee Isley, president and CEO of Nash UNC Health Care. “I am so proud of the entire team for the progress made in such a short period of time.”

According to The Leapfrog Group, survey results are used to educate consumers and purchasers about the quality and safety of hospitals in their community. The Leapfrog Group states that hospitals that voluntarily submit their data to the Leapfrog Hospital Survey are to be commended for their commitment to transparency and educating their patients about the quality and safety of the care they provide.

Only 32 percent of hospitals received an A rating this fall. Nash UNC Health Care has consistently improved its scores relating to patient experience, surgical site infections, hospital acquired conditions, patient safety indicators and patient falls, among others.

“Though our teams have been incredibly challenged over the last year and a half with the pandemic, they have remained relentlessly focused on improving the quality of care we provide to our patients and their families,” Isley said.

ECC selected to apply for $1M national college prize

Edgecombe Community College has been named eligible to apply for the prestigious 2023 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

The $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, awarded every two years, is the nation’s signature recognition for America’s community colleges. President Barack Obama once called it “basically the Oscars for great community colleges.”

According to Aspen Prize officials, “This in and of itself is an important marker of institutional performance — we selected just 150 from among approximately 1,000 community colleges evaluated nationwide.”

The Aspen Prize honors colleges with outstanding achievement in five critical areas: teaching and learning, certificate and degree completion, transfer and bachelor’s attainment, workforce success, and equity for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds.

Each cycle, a committee of national experts selects 10 finalist institutions and, ultimately, the winner of the prestigious award.

“We are honored to be named among the 150 community colleges that are eligible to apply for the distinguished Aspen Prize,” ECC President Greg McLeod said. “The fundamental goal of all of our college programs and initiatives is student success, and we are encouraged that our efforts have been noticed.”

ECC is one of six community colleges in North Carolina designated as eligible to apply for the prize.