NAMI Wilmington Leadership

Debra Kindervatter- President


Debra Kindervatter, originally from Elizabeth, New Jersey now lives in Wilmington, North Carolina where she serves as  president for the Wilmington chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Debra’s advocacy work centers on consumer education and self-directed recovery. She founded Wilmington’s NAMI Connection support group in 2005 and was certified as a peer support specialist in 2007. Debra is a passionate instructor, teaching NAMI Peer-to-Peer, NAMI Connection trainings, peer support specialist trainings and Wellness Recovery Action Plan.  She has worked on Community Support Teams with local providers and as a Consumer and Family Specialist with the Local Management Entity/Manged Care Organization.  One of Debra’s favorite projects include a partnership with Cucalorus Film Festival during May is Mental Health Month in 2014, which won the NC Council award for Awareness and Advocacy that same year. In 2015 she joined NAMI NC’s Board of Directors and shortly after was appointed to the Executive Board.  Since then she has teamed up NAMI on Campus to expand the suicide awareness and prevention program, 2-Minute Talk, to college campuses in the Wilmington area.  NAMI Wilmington is currently planning a joint program with NAMI on Campus focusing on suicide awareness and prevention among youth and young adults in the LGBTQ community.  For fun, Debra enjoys kayaking, playing with her dog Lucy and creating art.  She recently had a one-woman show of photographs and collages.


Johnnie Puckett- Vice President


Johnnie Puckett, a Vietnam veteran who lives with PTSD. Due to his PTSD he killed one person and went to Jail. When in Jail he wanted to become a substance abuse counselor and worked in the Peer counselor system for two years. He joined in 2013 due to Debra in 2013 and has taken part and completed multiple trainings offered by NAMI. He is the current director of the Recovery Resource Center INC which is located in Wilmington NC. Along with Debra he is a large Kayaking fan, enjoys camping, and is an Avid Doctor Who fan. Johnnie’s passion is for Veterans, teaching and advocating for them. He is the newly elected NAMI Wilmington Vice President.