A native southern West Virginian with a passion for prevention, Greg Puckett has worked tirelessly to bring special projects and initiatives to the area in the hopes of preventing the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs amongst youth. In 2001, he began serving as Director for the Mercer County Drug Free Community Support Program, a special initiative of Community Connections Inc. (CCI) (the County’s Family Resource Network). Together with community partners from local community anti-drug coalition, he has been successful in reaching across county and state lines to help guide the prevention process. He led the charge to support funding for Teen Courts throughout West Virginia and has advocated for the establishment of Local Coordinating Councils in every county.
As Executive Director of Community Connections, a community based 501(c)(3) non-profit, he advocates for strong public policy, and leads others to combat the opioid epidemic and community revitalization/stabilization efforts. He currently serves on several state committees including the Governor’s Committee on Crime, Delinquency and Corrections: Juvenile Justice Subcommittee, and serves on the Board of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), where he is a past recipient of CADCA’s National Advocate of the Year award. In 2010, Puckett also assisted CADCA in securing funds to host the first-ever, statewide National Youth Leadership Initiative.
In his role as County Commissioner in Mercer County, Greg has encouraged reinvestment with its local community mental health system, and diversifying funding to combat the Hepatitis B/C and HIV problems due largely to the health emergency left by the drug problems in the area. Since being elected in 2014, the Commission has invested nearly $750,000 into its local infrastructure, parks and recreation department, and courthouse improvement strategies. They have reinvested funding to its local community mental health system and under Puckett’s leadership, the Commission also placed a heavy emphasis on the county’s litter problem and has been awarded over $100,000 by the WV Department of Environmental Protection for its community based, award winning “Keep Mercer Clean” initiative.
He served as one of ten county officials on the National Association of Counties (NACO) Opioid Taskforce, and is on their policy team with the Juvenile Justice and Arts and Culture Subcommittees, and is a long-time advocate for effective policy change at the local, state and federal level. He works in close partnership with Federal Legislators and other national organizations such as SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) to carry out a host of national initiatives and pilot programs, and is a long-time advocate for effective policy change at the local, state and federal level.
For the past seven years, he has traveled throughout the United States to train communities on community sustainability and locally has worked with funders from the Benedum Foundation, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and others to revitalize his hometown of Princeton, West Virginia. Through the “Princeton Renaissance Project” the group has been actively using culturally effective change strategies to leverage over $400,000 in community donations to revitalize its local downtown theater. The project is also a community engine to reduce substance abuse, reinvigorate hope in its young people, and engage the future, while embracing its past.
In 2020, he was awarded the national Louis Gorin Award for Excellence in Rural Health Education by the National Rural Health Association.
He is the father of two children, Lauren and Joseph, that keep him dedicated to making positive changes, and leaving a legacy for the next generation to follow.