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NRVCS Staff Spotlights: Day 3

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New River Valley Community Services (NRVCS) is observing “Employee Appreciation Week” October 25 – 29 in celebration of our dedicated team of professionals. Throughout this week, we will be introducing you to some of our amazing staff.

Below are our featured “Staff Spotlights” for Wednesday, October 27:

HEATHER ARMSTRONG
Position: Drug Court Program Lead
Department: SUD & Jail Services
Years at NRVCS: Almost 6 years

Please share a little about your background:
I am originally from Tazewell County and I currently live in Pulaski County. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services and Counseling. I previously worked with another Drug Court program. I have also worked as a TDT Counselor in the school system and provided case management services to adults and children.

Why did you choose this particular career/job?
I am passionate about helping individuals with a Substance Use Disorder because I believe that people deserve the opportunity to recover.

What’s the most rewarding part of your work?
Often times, Drug Court participants have lost hope in their lives changing and it is rewarding to see that hope restored. This can also include reconnecting with their children/families and being able to achieve goals they have created for themselves. I believe it is important to provide accountability but also support and encouragement throughout the journey.

What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I enjoy singing.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I enjoy any water-related activities, hiking or taking my Golden Doodle walking.

Do you have a favorite quote or saying you would like to share?
1 Corinthians 13 4-7
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. Love never fails.





MARIO WONG
Position: Community Support Professional
Department: Mental Health Skill Building
Years at NRVCS: 1 1/2 years

Please share a little about your background:
I am originally from Antigua, Guatemala and I moved to the USA in 2008 with my wife. I received my BS in Psychology from Radford University as a non-traditional student. My first professional job after college was as a Correctional Officer at the Western Virginia Regional Jail where I worked for eight years.

Why did you choose this particular career/job?
I decided to shift career paths as I wanted to work in communities and affect positive change for the individuals I interact with daily. I met a current employee of NRVCS and when he described his work I decided to pursue this opportunity.

What’s the most rewarding part of your work?
I enjoy seeing my clients’ excitement when they make progress in achieving their goals, big or small.

What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I go to the gym every day.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Traveling with my wife, outdoor activities, and exercising.

Do you have a favorite quote or saying you would like to share?
The deepest waters make the least noise.



ROCHELLE THOMPSON
Position: Intensive Services (KPACT)
Department: KPACT Family Clinician
Years at NRVCS: I’ve worked with the agency for 6 years. I started in Intensive In-Home and moved to KPACT in 2019.

Please share a little about your background:
I’m from Wytheville, Virginia and lived there for the majority of my life. I moved to Christiansburg in 2018 and recently bought a house in Radford that I’m doing some light renovations on and plan to move there by the end of the year. I have a BS in Psychology from Radford University. Prior to coming to NRVCS, I worked for Family Preservation Services as a Therapeutic Day Treatment Provider.               

Why did you choose this particular career/job?
I’ve always wanted to help kids and my community.

What’s the most rewarding part of your work?
Knowing that I’ve been able to support a family so they stabilize and remain together is the most rewarding part of this job.

What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
My long-term life goal/dream is to have a sustainable alpaca farm where I can focus on harvesting fibers/making yarn, do community outreach, and provide retreats surrounding mindfulness and craft.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Outside of work I crochet, watch movies, and read. I’m also spending a lot of time on home renovations and planning gardens and landscaping at the new house.



CASSIE GRAVLEY
Position: New Life Program Assistant
Department: SUD & Jail Services
Years at NRVCS: 6 years & 10 mos. I started out as relief staff for New Life in January 2015. Three years later I became their full time Office Assistant. I was promoted to Program Assistant this past June.

Please share a little about your background:
I am from Pulaski County – still here! I have an Associates in Substance Abuse and certification in legal assisting. I graduated from PCHS in 2005. I worked in retail before coming to NRVCS.

Why did you choose this particular career/job?
I love to help people. I have personal experience within myself and loved ones who suffer from addiction, so I know firsthand of the struggles and hardships it can bring.

What’s the most rewarding part of your work?
To see the clients that complete treatment and continue a sober lifestyle. I love to see how proud they are when they share how well things are going for them and being reconnected with loved ones. It takes a lot of effort for an addict to stay sober and clean, so to see that is more rewarding than I could ever explain.

What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
Fall is my favorite time of the year and Halloween is my favorite holiday.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I have three boys- ages 4, 9, & 16. When I am not at work I try to be with them as much as I can. These days I usually have football practice or games to keep me busy. We enjoy movies nights and anything to do with being outside. They are all full of energy and keep me on my toes! What little time I do have for self-care, I enjoy watching documentaries and just taking in any quiet time I can get. A nap is always my favorite!

Do you have a favorite quote or saying you would like to share?
“This too shall pass.” This quote reminds me that nothing, good or bad, last forever.

REBECCA BURNETT
Position: Office Assistant
Department: Health Information Management
Years at NRVCS: I started as a contract employee in December of 2012 and got my full-time position in March of 2015. I have been a full-time employee for six years.

Please share a little about your background:
I was born in upstate New York and lived in Oregon until I was five; then my family moved to Virginia and I’ve been here ever since. I have a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from Radford University and while studying, I would regularly volunteer at Pointe West Club.

Why did you choose this particular career/job?
I was offered a contract position through Bright Services and then given the position I have now. I saw it as a good opportunity.

What’s the most rewarding part of your work?
The most rewarding part is knowing I can work for an agency that is dedicated to serving the community. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many people here who are committed to helping others!

What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I’m an art enthusiast! In my free time, I like to draw, paint, work with oil pastels and write stories!

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I enjoy doing artwork, watching movies (especially classics), spending quality time with my family (including my cat), reading, and taking long walks.

Do you have a favorite quote or saying you would like to share?
“The future depends on what you do today.” – Mahatma Gandhi


DEBBIE BAUER
Position: Outpatient Clinician, Pulaski Clinic (works primarily with adults in individual and group therapy)
Department: Outpatient Clinical Services
Years at NRVCS: 11 1/2 years

Please share a little about your background:
My roots are in Iowa, where I was born and most of my extended family is, though I grew-up in Alexandria, Virginia. My husband Keith (fellow L.C.S.W. in outpatient services at the Pulaski Center), our son Blake, and our daughter Darcey live in Pulaski with our two dogs, Cosmo and Clover, and our three cats: Bo, Moo Moo, and Hoodie. 

I went straight from earning my B.S. in psychology at Mary Washington College in 1991 to earning my Master in Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University in 1993. I have worked as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker for over 26 1/2 years in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Virginia in non-profit settings such as community mental health, integrated primary care, and faith-based agencies. 

Why did you choose this particular career/job?
Initially, I wanted to be a state department diplomat or a newspaper editor, then I decided that I didn’t like all the politics. I wanted to make a more direct impact on people’s lives. I wanted to use my knowledge, experience, and skills to help people cope with depression, anxiety, trauma, etc. I wanted them to feel safe, not judged, heard, valued, cared for, and  respected. My Mom lived with major mental illness. I saw how the world treated her differently and how much she suffered which left an indelible mark on my heart. 

What’s the most rewarding part of your work?
My clients! I am so honored and humbled that my clients trust me to share their lives and their stories with me. I learn so much from them. I also enjoy advocating for them and helping them find and use their own voice to advocate for themselves.

What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
To challenge myself and face my fear of heights, I jumped out of a plane! Keith and I went skydiving in May 2015 with our church (Blue Ridge Church). 

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I love spending time with my family and being outside. I also enjoy writing and creating photo books. I have written many, many letters-to-the-editor and articles which have been published in many different newspapers where we have lived over the years about all kinds of topics. 

Do you have a favorite quote or saying you would like to share?
As I was looking through deep, inspirational quotes, I came across this one… couldn’t resist… gotta have a sense of humor!

“What the world really needs is more love and less paper work.”  – Pearl Bailey




PREVIOUS “STAFF SPOTLIGHT” POSTS:
– Monday, October 25
Tuesday, October 26

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