Recently, there was a changing of the guard in one of the most important positions held by a Guilford County commissioner.

Commissioner Kay Cashion, after being the board’s point person on the Sandhills Center Board of Directors for eight years, has stepped down from that seat. She’s being replaced by Guilford County Commissioner Alan Perdue, the county’s former Emergency Services director.

Sandhills Center is the West End, North Carolina-based administrative body that oversees mental health and substance abuse care for nine counties in central North Carolina, including Guilford County.

That highly important board largely determines which counties get what services when it comes to mental health and substance abuse and, for years, Cashion has served as the county’s representative on that board. Even before Sandhills took over those mental health operations for Guilford County years ago, Cashion served as the Board of Commissioners’ point-person for behavioral issues – something she cares passionately about.

So, what got Cashion off that board? State law. After serving eight years on the board, she was required by term limits to step down and now Perdue will be the commissioner making the one-hour-plus drive to West End for the monthly meetings. (Or, at least, he’ll be making those trips once boards and commissions begin meeting in person again.)

Cashion said there have been a lot of changes since Guilford County joined forces with Sandhills Center in 2012.

“Each time that Guilford has asked for help, they have come through,” Cashion said of Sandhills.

Cashion noted that, when the arrangement between Guilford County and Sandhills was reached, the county was coming off of a year-long study of substance abuse as it related to adolescents and young adults. That turned into a white paper that a resulted in special courts in the county for people with behavioral issues, as well as resulting in the creation of the Guilford County Family Justice Center – a facility that opened in Greensboro in 2015 to help victims of domestic violence, child abuse, rape and other abusive behavior. Guilford County now also has a Family Justice Center in High Point as well.

Sandhills is now partnering with Cone Health and Guilford County to provide a completely new model of mental health care for the county in the very near future. That will include a new behavioral services center in Greensboro and a facility on the same campus near downtown Greensboro that will provide behavioral health care for adolescents.

Cashion said one thing she will greatly miss about the Sandhills board is the delicious fried chicken that was a staple of those meetings. Floyd Jordan started Jordan Catering in 1975 off of NC Highway 73 in West End. His son, Ted Jordan, is the current owner and Cashion said the family, along with Fred the cook, really know what they’re doing.

“The guy that does all of the cooking for Sandhills is Fred,” she wrote in an email after going on and on about the chicken at the county commissioners meeting last week. “If you are ever in or near West End and have access to this fried chicken, do not miss the opportunity – it is absolutely the BEST I have ever eaten! Not only will I miss participating in the Sandhills Board meetings with such a dedicated group of public servants, I will definitely miss this fried chicken!”