Chief Brannen Pruette has served with the Douglas Police Department as Deputy Chief since September 10, 2010 and was appointed as the new Police Chief on May 8, 2023. He also served as interim police chief of the Douglas Police Department from May 2018 until March 1, 2019. He has been certified as a law enforcement officer for 27 years.
He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Waldorf College. He is a graduate of the 116th Administrative Officers Course at the Southern Police Institute, University of Louisville, in Kentucky. He is a graduate of the Professional Management Program from Columbus State University. He graduated from Columbus State Universities Master Degree Program with a Master’s Degree in Public Safety Administration and is a graduate of the Georgia Command College at Columbus State University.
He has the distinct pleasure of having been commissioned a Kentucky Colonial in 2006 in the Commonwealth of Kentucky by Governor Ernie Fletcher. He is an active member of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police.
He is married to Pamela Pruette, who has been a Special Education Teacher for the past 29 years. He has three step children. Marie, who is married to Paul Frasier and they live in Tallahassee Florida. Marie is attending Florida State Universities PhD Program. Bennett DeMersseman, who is a student at Valdosta State University. Sarah Smith, who will be a Junior at Lowndes High School in the upcoming school year and a member of the Lowndes High Georgia Bridgeman Auxiliary.
About Eugene Dyal
My name is Eugene Dyal. I was born in 1954 a native of Alma, Bacon County. I am a 1972 graduate of Bacon County High School. After high school I became the co-owner of Aire-O-Lite Optical along with my brother Donnie Dyal for twenty-one years. In 1975 I married Sherrie Smith also from Bacon County. We later had two children, Diana Dyal Britt and Allison Dyal Haddock. I now have two granddaughters, one grandson, and one grandbaby due in September. Through the years, I became Chairman of Bacon County Commissioners as well as an insurance agent for Management South Agency. I continue to live in Bacon County and presently serve as the Council Coordinator of Seven Rivers Resource and Development. I was appointed to the Union Board of Director in 2013. God has given me a servant’s heart and desire to always help anyone in need.
About Selena Strickland
Selena Strickland is a graduate of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University with a master of public health in epidemiology. She was employed by the Georgia Division of Public Health as the district epidemiologist/biostatistician for the Coastal Health District until she left to devote time to urgent family healthcare needs.
Since then, in her free time, Selena has pursued varied hobbies and interests including gardening, textile based crafts, working with children and youth in church and community settings, and restoring classic cars and trucks. She recently earned an Automotive Collision Repair Diploma from Okefenokee Technical College.
The majority of Selena’s time is spent with her husband, Joey, as they care for and tend to five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She is blessed to have one grandchild with developmental disabilities and, as such, is committed to serving the Unison Behavioral Health target population. She is excited to be part of the Board.
About Carlos Nelson
Born in Waycross, Commissioner Nelson is a 1982 graduate of Waycross High School. After graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and served honorably for 6 years with duty stations at Robins AFB in Warner Robins Georgia and USAF Detachment in Conrad Montana. After returning home in 1990, Commissioner Nelson worked for the Ware County Recreation Department as Programs Coordinator where he became active in Georgia Special Olympics and various other programs promoting youth abstinence and training.
In 1999, Commissioner Nelson was elected to the Ware County Board of Commissioners. Reelected in 2014, he is currently serving his 17th years of the County Board. He is a Certified County Commissioner with University of Georgia, Carl Vinson Institute of Government.
Commissioner Nelson’s civic, community service and board involvement includes membership with the NAACP, Waycross Black Action Committee, Greater Mt. Zion AME Church; Ware County High School Wingfoot Track Club. He is currently serving as Executive Board Chair – Concerted Services Inc; Ware County Legislative Coordinator for the Association County Commissioners of Georgia; Chairman of Ware County Special Olympics; and member of Unison Behavioral Health.
Commissioner Nelson is a high school and college basketball official and is currently the Director of the Waycross-Ware Co Drug Action Council.
About Derek Herlocker
Derek Herlocker was born in Coffee County and lived there until 2014 when God called him to First Baptist Church in Homerville where he serves as the Student Pastor and has served there since 2014. Derek previously served as Student Pastor at First Baptist Church in Broxton, Ga for 9 years. Derek is a graduate of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters of Divinity degree and also a graduate of Brewton Parker College with a B.S. in Sports and Fitness. Derek is married to Stephanie of Broxton, Ga and they have two children, Breana (8) and Braden (6). Derek enjoys spending time with family, playing golf, cooking, watching UGA football, hunting, and fishing. Derek currently serves with the Clinch County Family Connection and is also a co-chair on the Teen Issues Strategy Team. Derek is also actively involved in a number of ministries in Clinch County including FCA. Derek has a passion for young people and desires to be a positive influence in their life.
About JoAnne Lewis
JoAnne Lewis is President of the Douglas-Coffee County Chamber of Commerce and Executive Director of the Douglas-Coffee Economic Development Authority. She has more than 25 years of economic development experience with local and state government. Her main career objective has been to grow jobs and business to support a strong economy. She understands the importance of health and social issues as an important piece of the puzzle to support the development of a skilled and qualified workforce.
As a respected economic development professional, Lewis has gained support from regional, state and national professional organizations. She served as the Chairman of the Georgia Economic Developer’s Association in 2013. She has also served as a Director on the Board of Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. She received Georgia’s Al Burress Lifetime Achievement Award for the State of Georgia, Regional Partnership Award from East Central Technical College and was recognized in 2007 as the national recipient for the Economic Development Leadership Award by the National Rural Economic Development Association.
Her time and talent amplifies success at work and through volunteerism in the local community, region and the State of Georgia. In 2014 she spearheaded the acquisition, development and opening of a substance abuse recovery center for women – Still Waters Outreach, Inc.
The program for women at Still Waters supports substance abuse recovery through faith — and faith through recovery. The environment is more than just a place to live; it’s a place of spiritual healing where women can face their problems as they study God’s word, grow in Christ and prepare for workforce reentry.
Dr. Faye Mathis
About Dr. Faye Mathis
Dr. Faye Mathis is employed as Dean of Allied Health at Coastal Pines Technical College. A graduate of Valdosta State University with Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Adult Education. She also received her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Argosy University, Sarasota Florida. A Respiratory Therapist by trade and served as Program Director and instructor of the Respiratory Care program from 1994-2017 at Coastal Pines. She is very active in student clubs and organizations at the college and was named the 2009, State Advisor of the year for Skills USA. She was also named the 2002 college Instructor of the year, and a Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education Rick Perkins award finalist for Excellence in Technical Instruction. She’s a proud mother of two sons, and a nana of four grandsons.
About Ginger Manning
Ginger Manning is a graduate of South Georgia State College and Valdosta State University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She has 26 years of nursing experience with the majority in the field of Emergency Nursing. Currently she is employed at the Bacon County Hospital as the Emergency Department Nurse Manager.
She was born at the hospital that she now works at and grew up in the Millwood community (Atkinson County). Since 2005 she has resided in Bacon County with her husband Scott Manning. Together they have raised 6 children and have only two left at home, 13 year old Bennett and 7 year old Joshua.
Ginger is pleased to have been selected by her county to represent them on the Board of Directors. She is especially grateful to follow in the footsteps of her dad who served on the board for Atkinson County until his death in 2003.
Dr. John Lairsey
About Dr. John Lairsey
I am a native of Waycross, GA and recently retired from the Charlton County School System after 34 1/2 years. I served as a teacher, principal at the elementary, middle and high school levels, served one year as an Associate Superintendent and served the last 9 1/2 years as Superintendent. While I continue to reside in Charlton County, I do begin working in the Leadership, Curriculum and Workforce Development Department of Valdosta State University as an Assistant Professor in January. My wife and I have two daughters, Mallory, a student at VSU and Meagan Schwing, a teacher in Charlton County.
Sheriff Len Davis
About Sheriff Len Davis
Len Davis was born and raised in Brantley County. He has been in law enforcement for approximately 31 years. He has been with the Sheriff of Brantley County since 2017. Len began his law enforcement career in Glynn County working with the Glynn County Police Department and Glynn County Sheriff’s Office. Len is married to Raleeta Davis and has 4 children, Kelly, Will, Josh, and Mattie and he also has 4 grandchildren.
Dr. Calandra Holmes
About Dr. Calandra Holmes
Dr. Calandra Holmes is an Atkinson County High School graduate from Valdosta State University, Argosy University, and Walden University. She has been employed with the Atkinson County Board of Education for 24 years. She currently serves as the Principal at Atkinson County Middle School and has served as a teacher, professional school counselor, and assistant principal before beginning her tenure as principal. She is active in community organizations and is an active member of the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE), Georgia Association of Education Leaders (GAEL), and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
She is pleased to have been selected by her county to represent them on the Board of Directors. She is extremely grateful to follow in the footsteps of her mother and cousin, who both previously served on the board for Atkinson and Clinch County.
About Kristi Mercer
Unison Behavioral Health announces the appointment of Kristi Mercer for Pierce County. Kristi was on the Pierce County Family Connections Board acting as the Pierce school representative and working as the Parent Mentor for the Pierce School district. Parent mentors are parents of children with disabilities hired by the district to support family engagement, as well as special education directors and other administrators, teachers, and support personnel within the district. Kristi’s role was to support other parents by providing information and resources to help their children succeed in school and transition from school to adult life. Kristi is familiar with DBHDD Family Support Services and has experience as a board member with Easter Seals.
empowering people to improve the quality of their lives.
Unison Behavioral Health is a leading provider of mental health, substance abuse and developmental disability services in southeast Georgia, serving residents in Atkinson, Bacon, Brantley, Charlton, Clinch, Coffee, Pierce, and Ware Counties. Unison Behavioral Health is not affiliated with the Unison Behavioral Health Group of Ohio.
Need Help Now? Call: (800) 342-8168
Unison Behavioral Health
1007 Mary Street, PO Box 1397
Waycross, GA 31503