Paul Napper, executive director of The ALPHA Center, received the 2015 Kershaw County Sheriff’s Foundation (KCSF) Leonard Price Friend of Law Enforcement Award during a surprise ceremony Friday.
KCSF board members, Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews, members of Kershaw County Council and the Kershaw County Board of School Trustees joined ALPHA Center staff in congratulating Napper. Kershaw County School District Dr. Frank Morgan nominated Napper for the award this year, adding to a nomination a year ago by ALPHA Center Prevention Director Tina Griggs.
In his nomination letter, Morgan cited Napper’s “vision and imagination” as The ALPHA Center’s leader in developing innovative programs helping those recovering from alcoholism, drug addiction and other conditions in the community get “a second chance to turn their lives around and become productive citizens.” Morgan also mentioned The ALPHA Center’s partnership with the 5th Circuit Solicitor’s Office in establishing a youth arbitration program.
“The … program is designed to keep first-time offenders involved in non-violent, less serious crimes out of the legal system,” Morgan wrote. “The program utilizes counseling and other interventions to restore offenders to positive citizenship without expending the significant public resources involved in taking a juvenile through the family court system.”
Morgan said during the program’s first two years of operation, it has enjoyed a more than 90 percent success rate.
The superintendent also said Napper has been instrumental in developing programs to help at-risk youth move in the right direction.
“In the aftermath of a gang-related death in 2007, Mr. Napper played a key role in the community receiving a $5.7 million federal grant that funded programs to prevent young people from engaging in negative and self-destructive behaviors,” Morgan wrote.
In addition, Morgan said Napper helped form summer flag football and basketball programs, partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands to receive a Hootie & The Blowfish Foundation grant to have young people produce their own music CD and takes groups of teenage boys to a wilderness/nature camp each year to learn about the outdoors.
“These examples only scratch the surface of Mr. Napper’s accomplishments,” Morgan wrote. “I believe Mr. Napper is extremely deserving of the Friend of Law Enforcement Award because of his dedicated and selfless efforts to help people move themselves in productive and fulfilling directions versus directions that will ultimately and inevitably lead to involvement with law enforcement and the courts.”
In her nomination from a year ago, Griggs called Napper “an amazing persona and man.”
“He is not only my director for my 21 years of being here, but like a father to me as well,” Griggs wrote. “For the past 31 years, he has steered the agency through unprecedented growth and changes in service delivery. Under Napper’s tenure, The ALPHA Behavioral Health Center transitioned from a county agency into a private, non-profit drug, alcohol and behavioral health treatment facility.”
During the last 15 years, Napper expanded the center’s programs into Chesterfield and Lee counties, Griggs noted. In addition, she said Napper has served on various boards, including the S.C. Waterfowl Association; Wateree Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, including as president; the Kershaw County Gang Task Force, Kershaw County Rescue Squad board and S.C. Carolina Selective Service board. He also served on the KershawHealth Board of Trustees before becoming a member of Central Carolina Technical College’s board.
Among those on hand to present Napper with the award were the late Leonard Price’s daughters, Kathy Stitt and Beth Tisdale.
“My daddy would be so happy to know of Paul’s selection for this award,” Stitt said. “Paul, like my dad, believed in helping people in need and thanking those who serve to protect us.”
Sheriff Matthews said Price was a good friend of the sheriff’s office.
“Our county lost a true community champion when Leonard Price died,” Matthews said. “I’m thankful Mr. Price’s daughters and son-in-law, Cab Stitt, could join us today to present this award. I first met Paul while running for office. He said he wouldn’t support me, but now we’re great friends. I can’t think of another person who has been as great a friend to law enforcement for so many years. I thank him for diverting people away from us.”
Napper said he considers the award the “highest honor” because he considered Price a “very special friend” of his.
“I miss him dearly,” Napper said. “He loved this county -- it’s amazing the things he did for this county.”
Napper also thanked his staff, saying the award is really theirs.
“I can’t do what I do if it wasn’t for them doing what they do,” Napper said. “I’ve received lots of awards, but when you receive one from your hometown, it is most special. They know you have warts, but instead of judging you, they support you.”
The KCSF is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization established to support the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office. Donations are tax deductible. For more information, visit its Facebook page or email email@example.com.