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Olivia Dawson – Co-chair

Pender County, Department of Tourism


Olivia Dawson, a native of Burgaw, is the Mayor of the Town of Burgaw and a Tourism Assistant with Pender County, promoting Burgaw and Pender County to its fullest.


As an employee of Pender County, Dawson has worked in many areas of the EOC during Hurricane Florence then continued as she assisted with recovery efforts from Florence when the storm affected Pender County in September 2018 serving as the Disaster Relief Coordinator. She assisted with facilitating groups & resources for long-term recovery and aided in the formation of the PLTRG. She continues to serve as the Co-Chair of the Pender Long Term Recovery Group (PLTRG). 


She continues to help promote and enrich her community and its events by serving as a supporting board member of the North Carolina Festival & Events Association and is the Director of The North Carolina Blueberry Scholarship Pageant. She was nominated as a Woman to Watch in 2018 by the Greater Wilmington Business Journal. In Nov 2021, she was elected Mayor for the Town of Burgaw, the county seat of Pender County. 


Dawson remains involved within the community while cultivating a life lived with integrity, service, love, and compassion to grow personally and professionally.

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Reverend Jerry T. Pearson – Co-Chair

A native of Rocky Point and a graduate of Burgaw High School. Reverend Pearson served 5 years in the US Navy as an Aircraft Electrician. When discharged from the Navy he went to work with CP&L as a maintenance electrician. Rev. Pearson worked with the power company for 41 years and retired in June 2020 as Power Quality and Reliability Engineer with Duke Energy. He was also the Damage Assessment Coordinator for seven southeastern counties and was responsible for assessing material and manpower needed for power restoration following natural disasters.

With a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Mt. Olive College, a Master of Science degree in Administration from Central Michigan University, and a Master of Divinity Degree from Hood Theological Seminary, Salisbury. He serves as pastor of New Kelly’s Chapel AME, Wilmington, and St. John AME, Wrightsboro. Pastor Pearson is married and has been with his loving and supportive wife for 33 years. They have two children and two beautiful grandchildren.

A member of the 2nd Episcopal District AME Disaster Relief Committee. He represents the AME Church as a member of NCVOAD and as a member of the Recovery Support Function. He looks forward to serving the residents of Pender County with disaster recovery assistance.

Reverend Gio Simpson- Project Coordinator & Director 

Although he grew up a military child and lived all over the country, Pastor Giovanni Simpson is a native of Rocky Point, NC. He graduated from EA Laney High School in 1983 and earned his Bachelors's Degree in Philosophy and Religion from UNCW in 1988 (Dean's list). He was privileged to attend the US Naval Technical School where he graduated in 1990 as their top graduate. He is a veteran of the US Navy and served as a reservist “Seabee” from 1990-1998. He served as a technician (NH/Pender County) at Bellsouth Telecommunications 1998-2007 where he provided telecommunications services through many hurricanes and storms locally, around North Carolina, and the country (including Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans Area).


In 2014, Pastor Simpson graduated from UNCW with a master's in education. He has spent nearly 26 years combined as a Christian and secular educator/minister. From 1999 until the present, he has served as the Pastor of Gateway to Heaven Christian Fellowship in the Wrightsboro Community. From the onset of Florence, Pastor Simpson has devoted his time to helping hurricane victims throughout the area and he looks forward to serving Pender county residents in our long-term recovery efforts. He is blessed to be married to his beautiful wife of 30 years, Felicia, and they have been graced to have two sons. 

Chris Teeter, Treasurer & Executive Board Member

United Way, Director of Community Impact

Kim GoreExecutive Board Member

Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministries, Director of Homeowner Services

Erin CourtneyExecutive Board Member

Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, Wilmington Office

PLTRG Committees: 

Unmet Needs 


Community Outreach

Volunteer & Special Events 


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