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​Gibbie Harris Inducted into Order of the Hornet 

1/20/2022

During the Board of County Commissioners' (BOCC) regular meeting on January 19, 2022, retired Health Director Gibbie Harris was inducted into the Order of the Hornet. The Order of the Hornet is the County's highest honor. The award is given to citizens who have made extraordinary contributions to the community. 


Harris was appointed Health Director of Mecklenburg County in October 2017, managing 800 Public Health department employees and a $96 million budget. Harris served the County from the start of the pandemic through December 2021. She also served as the Incident Commander during emergency operations to address COVID-19. During the BOCC meeting, Harris thanked her husband, her staff, County Manager Dena Diorio, Deputy County Manager Anthony Trotman, community partners and the BOCC. 


“No one individual can do all the things that I have had the opportunity to influence in this community,” said Harris. My executive team is here, I could point to each and every one of them and talk about all of the things that they have done to support this community since I’ve been here. I could do that with all of our staff. Our public health staff in this community is the best. And I know that you all know that.”  


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Harris has previously served as Health Director in Buncombe County and Wake County. She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill School of Nursing and earned her master’s degree from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.  


The Order of the Hornet was established in 1972. It is bestowed by the Board of County Commissioners on persons who have displayed valor or high order of service uniquely and specifically to the citizens of Mecklenburg County. This is the highest honor bestowed by the Board. 
 
Watch the full award presentation here(start at 15:17). 


Harris is retired but continues to care about Mecklenburg County. 


I’ve only been gone two weeks, but I will tell you I get online every morning and I look at what the numbers are doing,” said Harris. I look at what folks are doing. I’ve had numerous conversations with Raynard so far. I am still committed to this community and looking forward to wonderful things happening from here.”


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Prior to the BOCC meeting, Dr. Raynard Washington was sworn in as Mecklenburg County’s Public Health Director by the BOCC Clerk Kristine Smith. Since March 2020, Washington has served as second-in-command for the department, providing oversight and direction to internal operations in addition to supporting all aspects of COVID-19 response with direct oversight of communications and outreach, epidemiology, testing and various aspects of the vaccine distribution. Prior to starting work with the County, Washington worked as Chief Epidemiologist and Deputy Commissioner with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health from 2017-2020. Before that, he worked for the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare, Inc. and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.