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CVIC designates annual Peacemaker Award recipient in honor of late police officer

The person is selected from a list of nominees, and receives the agency’s annual Peacemaker Award. This year, the award honored seven nominees and one recipient with a new name: The Jim Vigness Peacemaker Award.

CVIC
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GRAND FORKS – The Grand Forks Community Violence Intervention Center has named its annual Peacemaker Award after a late police officer.

Each year since 2002, CVIC board and staff select an individual who has “gone above and beyond to do their part in ending domestic violence and sexual assault in our community,” the organization noted in its press release.

The person is selected from a list of nominees, and receives the agency’s annual Peacemaker Award. This year, the award honored seven nominees and one recipient with a new name: The Jim Vigness Peacemaker Award.

The CVIC named Noelle Myers, Project Dignity founder, as the first Jim Vigness Peacemaker Award recipient.

In the news release about the award, the organization noted its staff was “deeply saddened” earlier this year to learn about the death of its first CVIC Peacemaker: Jim Vigness, who was a “steadfast advocate of domestic violence and sexual assault prevention/intervention and a tremendous friend to CVIC clients and employees.” CVIC said Vigness’ compassion and patience when working with survivors as a domestic violence investigator was “unparalleled.”

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“Jim Vigness was a gentle giant. He was truly a pioneer in the area of domestic violence investigations,” said 2020 Peacemaker Award recipient and Grand Forks Police Department Chief Mark Nelson.“Vig, as he was affectionately known, had the innate ability to put people at ease and make them feel they truly mattered to him. His expertise in domestic violence investigations was not only recognized locally, but on a national scale as well. I am sure Vig would be honored and humbled by the renaming of the Peacemaker Award.”

In addition to Myers this year’s Peacemaker Award nominees included:

Kristina Braaten, emergency room supervisor and sexual assault nurse examiner, Altru;

Mike Gavere, domestic violence investigator, Grand Forks Police;

Missy Ketterl, counselor, Manvel Public School;

Jason McCarthy, judge, Northeast Central Judicial District;

Andrew Schneider, sheriff, Grand Forks County; and

Lauralee Tupa, CEO, Circle of Friends Humane Society

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Myers founded Project Dignity in 2018. Project Dignity has provided services to hundreds of people ranging in age from 6 months to over 90. It has provided bags of toiletries and comfort items, as well as clothing to victims of sexual assault or violent crime at the emergency room. Myers also has assisted with the Grand Forks Police Department’s Blue Card Program. The Blue Card program helps survivors of violence when speaking to law enforcement, something that can be difficult for some due to the trauma they experienced. The Blue Card helps provide information to responding officers about what is difficult about the interaction for the person and provides suggestions of how best to dialogue with consideration of their needs.

Myers was presented the award at the CVIC Judd Sondreal Memorial Rise & Shine for Peace breakfast in June. The event hosted a record 640 guests and raised more than $380,000 for interpersonal violence prevention, education, and intervention programs.

Sydney Mook has been the managing editor at the Herald since April 2021. In her role she edits and assigns stories and helps reporters develop their work for readers.

Mook has been with the Herald since May 2018 and was first hired as the Herald's higher education reporter where she covered UND and other happenings in state higher education. She was later promoted to community editor in 2019.


For story pitches contact her at smook@gfherald.com or call her at 701-780-1134.
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