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FBI SAC Freeze (left) with Shane Garrard, Sunflower Landing.

FBI Jackson Division announces 2018 FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award

FBI Jackson Division Special Agent in Charge Christopher Freeze has announced Sunflower Landing as Mississippi’s recipient of the 2018 FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award. Sunflower Landing was selected for initiating a positive impact on youth affected by addiction.

Shane Garrard, Director of Alcohol and Drug Services for Mississippi Region 1 Mental Health, will represent Sunflower Landing at a presentation on May 3, 2019 in Washington D.C., where FBI Director Christopher Wray will present the formal award to him and other recipients from across the country.

Located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, Sunflower Landing is an innovative, home-like residential treatment facility for adolescents with substance abuse and related struggles. The rural setting allows the counselors and clients to focus on recovery without the distractions found in major cities.

While in the care of the facility, the youth continue their daily education, working toward a high school or GED diploma, and participate in community service to learn the value of selfless service. Counselors motivate adolescents to think outside of the box, helping them find purpose in life. Sunflower Landing guides each adolescent with a “person first” approach, diving into trauma, comorbidity, trust and relationship issues. This method of support leads to general life skills and creating safe and secure boundaries.

In 2018, Sunflower Landing began addressing the effects the opioid crisis is having on youth. While society is beginning to understand the effects of opioids on adults, few are discussing youth affected by opioids and their rampant behaviors, often due to a lack of compassion and love in their lives. Sunflower Landing is taking charge to change the discussion.

Staff at Sunflower Landing present best practices and lessons learned to ensure more effective treatment in the future. They also train others to not look at addiction as a moral dilemma, but a disease that needs treatment and purpose.

The FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award was formally created in 1990 as a way to honor individuals and organizations for their efforts on combating crime, terrorism, drugs and violence in America. Recipients of this award are nominated by each of the FBI’s 56 field offices, and are recognized for their service above and beyond the call of duty to help keep America and its residents safe.


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