Wilmington, NC 10/6/2022. In May of 2021, just 17 short months ago, NAMI Board Member and peer, Chuck Eldridge assumed the role of NAMI Board President. At the time, membership had dwindled to only 42, with a handful of dedicated volunteers. With only 3 active support groups, 6 trained leaders, and prospects for growth hard to imagine, Chuck was overseeing an organization that was nearly on life support.

Over the past 17 months Chuck (pictured below – middle) has led NAMI Wilmington through an amazing transformation. Having nearly doubled paid membership, and significantly increased its volunteer base, we now offer 7 quality support groups throughout the community, including one on the UNCW campus, a first, with 17 active trained leaders. Chuck, supported wonderfully by his wife Janis, has been incredibly active as our leader, promoting our organization far and wide throughout the Tri-County mental health community. I can speak with personal experience about Chucks intensity, sincerity, and dedication, having been recruited by him to serve on the NAMI Wilmington Board as Vice-President 6 months ago.

Chuck has done an amazing job as Board President, but he just can’t seem to rest. In response to his contagious drive and energy, a task force of board members has proposed that Chuck be hired as Executive Director. Chuck has accepted this invitation, and the Board has concurred, voting unanimously to hire Chuck. Beginning November 1, he’ll split his time between his new Executive Director position with NAMI Wilmington, and his day job as Fishing/Cruise Boat Captain. Knowing Chuck, he’ll put in many more than the 20 hours he’ll be paid for. I will succeed Chuck as President, and current At-Large Board Member Alabama Stone (pictured below – left) will take the role of Vice-President. Together with Chuck, we will form a strong leadership team, piloting NAMI Wilmington to greater strength and capacity in service to the Tri-County mental health community and its residents.

D. J. Engelman (pictured below – right)