Operation UNITE hires new president

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 6
Published: Oct. 26, 2023 at 6:20 PM EDT
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LONDON, Ky. (WYMT) - Operation UNITE, a non-profit launched in 2003 to battle substance abuse, now has a new leader.

Tom Vicini, who has been with UNITE for 17 years and last worked as their deputy director, took over starting Oct. 1. Vicini replaces Nancy Hale, who was the president for eight years before retiring.

The new president said drug prevention will continue to be their main focus.

“We’re trying to let people know that if you go down this road, it’s the most dangerous time in the history of this world to use drugs. We’re trying to let the young people know that they can take one pill and it can end their life,” said Tom Vicini.

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Vicini said they would not be in operation without the help of U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers, who founded the non-profit.

In a statement to WYMT, Rogers expressed his confidence in Operation UNITE and Vicini.

“Over the last 20 years, Operation UNITE has blazed a path forward for comprehensive life-saving measures, as we battle the opioid epidemic in the heart of Appalachia. UNITE is now a national model for success, partnering with organizations across the country to help drive down overdose death rates. Multiple studies are now proving that our joint efforts are working to save lives and reunite families. I’m thrilled that our long-time friend and deputy chief, Tom Vicini, is now taking on the helm of Operation UNITE. As a Harlan Countian, Tom fully understands the challenges that we face in our region, and he knows how to rally the troops when times get tough. He’s a highly respected and proven leader, who has mentored countless youth through Little League in Harlan County and UNITE’s various community programs across the region. UNITE’s future is in great hands with Tom Vicini.”

Rep. Hal Rogers, (R) 5th District