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Meet the 2023 NOVA board awardees

NOVA’s Board of Directors annually present awards to recognize extraordinary accomplishments by individuals and programs in the victims’ movement.

Nominations for inspiring individuals and programs are received from our community and are for the following categories:

  • The Morton Bard Award recognizes the contributions of an individual in an “allied” profession such as law enforcement, prosecution, medicine, mental health, the clergy, etc. 
  • The Tadini Bacigalupi Jr. Award is given to a distinguished victim service program.
  • The Marlene Young Leadership Award recognizes outstanding contributions to the victims’ movement by a program manager, state administrator, or related professional.
  • The Margery Fry Award recognizes outstanding service as a victim assistance practitioner.
  • The Edith Surgan Victim Activist Award is given to a victim/survivor turned advocate, who demonstrates a life of commitment after victimization to promote rights and services that support other survivors. 
  • The Exceptional Military Victim Advocate Award recognizes outstanding contributions by a military victim advocate (active duty, civilian, or contractor) to service members and dependents.  

Eric Butler, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC), United States Army Garrison, Fort Hunter Liggett

Exceptional military victim advocate award

Eric Butler is the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for United States Army Garrison, Fort Hunter Liggett. He has been in victim advocacy since 2017 although his passion for helping others began in 2011 when he attended Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) with the Army. He became enamored with the material and began dedicating his life to helping those in need.  Eric is a member of National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA), a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), member of the Association of Quartermaster and recipient of the Honorable Order of Saint Martin.

Why I Advocate: “To bring hope to those who may have lost hop, show victims they are not alone. To assist in the foundation for victims to build upon on their way to successful recovery. To plant the seed of Bystander Intervention for Soldiers, Civilians and Families of the DoD in order to create a more supportive and strength based climate.”

Brett Engler, Domestic Violence Unit, Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office

morton bard allied professional award

Brett Engler is the Chief of the Domestic Violence Unit within the Frederick County Maryland State’s Attorney’s Office. The Domestic Violence Unit works with law enforcement and community partners to identify high-risk offenders, respond to the needs of vulnerable victims, and successfully prosecute intimate partner violence in Frederick County. Brett is the Co-Chair of the Frederick County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council and the Frederick County Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team, each of which bring together criminal justice and community stakeholders to evaluate and improve the county’s domestic violence resources and response. She also serves on the Legal Committee for the Training institute on Strangulation Prevention, and the Criminal Justice Subcommittee Maryland’s Domestic Violence Fatality Review Statewide Implementation Team.

Why I Advocate: “In dedicating my practice to prosecuting intimate partner violence, I have witnessed countless survivors stand up to their abusers, stand up for themselves, and stand up for other victims. This is #whyIadvocate. By engaging law enforcement, community stakeholders, and justice system actors in multidisciplinary teams—we are able to hold offenders accountable and ensure victim-informed, safety-driven outcomes. This is how we stop the intergenerational cycle of domestic violence.”

Mae Bennett, Licensed Independent Social Worker with supervision designation (LISW-S)

Marlene Young Leadership award

Mae Bennett is a Licensed Independent Social Worker with supervision designation (LISW-S). She has a social work bachelor’s degree from Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, OH, and a master’s degree in Applied Social Sciences (MSASS) from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. 

Ms. Bennett has fought for and with survivors of crime for nearly two decades. Ms. Bennett has worked in a domestic violence shelter, co-created a victim assistance program in a police department, and as a community-based victim’s advocate. Ms. Bennett has worked at Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland (JFSA) for the last decade. She is JFSA’s Manager of Domestic Violence Services, supervising direct service staff in addition to the Know Abuse™ Teen Dating Violence Prevention program. She coordinates program development, relationships with community agencies and funding sources, and carries a case load of trauma therapy clients.

Why I Advocate: “The pain and chaos of victimization is profound. If one thread is frayed it effects the whole tapestry. It’s my responsibility to add energy to help heal the frayed threads of the world.”

Sherry Nolen, Medical Case Manager, South Side Help Center

Edith Surgan victim activist award

Sherry Nolen, currently resides in Chicago, Illinois but was formerly lived in Jackson, MS for Years and worked for Jackson State University before moving to Chicago, IL . Sherry was born and partially raised in Los Angeles California. Sherry’s Son Akaeem Nolen was murdered on July 7, 2021. She has since then been fighting for Justice for not only her son but other Moms who Sons or Daughters were killed in Jackson Mississippi. Sherry recently started a support group in Jackson for Men and Women who are grieving called “Purposely Driven”. Sherry is currently working on a National Strategy to collaborate with other organizations working on violence Prevention and Community strategies to educate, assist and bring the community back together.

Why I Advocate: “We advocate for gun violence prevention because we believe in the power of prevention to save lives and protect communities. No one should have to suffer the devastating consequences of gun violence, which not only takes lives but also causes immeasurable trauma and grief….”

Give an hour, rOUTE 91 Heals project

tadini bacigalupi Outstanding Program award

Why We Advocate

Molly Maurer, Program ManagerI advocate because it’s important for me to show people there is hope. I want to offer resources and help build resilient communities. Advocacy helped me in my own healing journey, and it furthers my healing by helping others.

Shane Meserve, Deputy DirectorI advocate because although trauma is inevitable in this life, suffering and pain are not.  No one should feel alone when so many of us are cheering for and lifting up all who grieve.  I want to facilitate real connection and joy amongst the pain, having a full human experience.

Michael Morisette, Program CoordinatorOne of the hardest parts of suffering through a ‘lived experience’ is that feeling that others simply don’t understand what you are going through, that you are alone. Being able to provide a place where impacted folks can come together to connect, and learn, and grow both individually and as partners in a journey towards healing, is an honor and a privilege.

Kelly Muklevicz, Supervising Victim Advocate, County of VenturaTo be present, listen to understand, foster strength, lift voices, build community, stand together, walk a path to hope and resilience.

Bobbi Mowery, Police Lieutenant, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office (retired)

margery fry award

Bobbi Mowery retired the end of February 2023 after an incredible 50-year career in service to our most vulnerable victims. Bobbi started her career in 1973 as a social worker with the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS). In this position, she investigated allegations of physical and sexual abuse of children and provided assistance to the victims by working with the families to set up appropriate services. In 1986 Bobbi began working as a Detective with the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office and spent her entire law enforcement career assigned to and ultimately supervising the Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit in the rank of Detective Lieutenant. When she retired from law enforcement in 2000, Bobbi transitioned into her role as a Victim Advocate in the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office. Bobbi’s lifetime dedication to helping victims is remarkable and an inspiration to everyone she meets.

2023 Board of Directors Award Nominations ~Honorees

Exceptional Military Victim Advocate Award

Khalid Mansour, SAPR Administrative Unit Victim Advocate (deceased) nominated by Nancy Powers

Dr. Diandra Poe, Founder of Glass Soldier,

Roweena Arasah, Founder of We Believe You SOS,

Jolene Catterall, victim advocate with WI National Guard SAPR,


Edith Surgan Victim Activist Award

Megan Shepard, Training and Programming Grants Coordinator, Kansas Department of Disability and Aging Resources & Researcher at Fort Hays State University,


Margery Fry Award

Nakisha Walker, Macon-Bibb Solicitor General Office,

Andrea Shoemaker, victim advocate, Hall County Discount Attorney’s Office,


Tadini Bacigalupi Jr. Award

Michelle Richards, State Medical Board of Ohio,

Melandie Deplazes, Safe Alternatives for Abused Families,


Morton Bard Allied Professional Award

Tyler Czarnowsky, Youth Behavioral Health Liaison, Compass Health, & Missouri Law Enforcement Officer,

Samantha Clark, Community and Prevention Specialist, Strengthening Families,

Dr. Diandra Poe, Founder of Glass Soldier,

Nick Bowman, Detective, Utah State University Police Department,

Cortney Morgan, Founder & Board President of No More Trafficking,

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