Hannia Benitez – President
Hannia is foremost a dedicated wife, mother, daughter, and big sister. She is also a youth leader at her church and public servant. She was born in “La Tierra de la Eterna Primavera, Guatemala” (The Land of Eternal Spring) and raised in the “Delightfully Unexpected, Siler City”. She is joyfully satisfied with a warm cup of “café con leche y pan”, some tamales, and shrimp-anything. She looks forward to serving the community that is dear to her heart.
Elizabeth Haddix – Vice President
Elizabeth is a bilingual resident of Pittsboro. She is an Adjunct Professor of Law at UNC-Chapel Hill and joined the staff of the UNC Center for Civil Rights in 2010. After graduating from Duke University in 1992, Elizabeth taught Spanish at Southwest Edgecombe High School. In 1998, she earned a J.D. from UNC School of Law and received a fellowship from the National Association for Public Interest Law, which she used to represent low-income workers as a staff attorney at the North Carolina Justice Center. She entered private practice with the firm of Edelstein & Payne in Raleigh. Since 2005, Haddix has had a solo law practice serving low-income workers across the state.
Mike Zelek – Treasurer
Mike is the Health Promotion and Policy Division Director for the Chatham County Public Health Department, where he has worked since 2012. In this role, he oversees initiatives focused on building healthy and equitable communities where all residents have access to the resources needed to live healthy and fulfilling lives. Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, Mike came to North Carolina in 2010 to study Health Behavior/Health Education at UNC-Chapel Hill. Before that, he worked with a nonprofit organization in northern Nicaragua for three years, where he led health initiatives and taught English. Mike is excited to be a part of El Vínculo’s important work in Siler City and Chatham County.
Eleazer Reyna Ocampo – Secretary
Elea is originally from Mexico, and has lived in Siler City since she was 7 years old. As a teenager, she participated in The Hispanic Liaison’s youth group and youth radio show called “Teen Shout”. Elea is bilingual, outgoing and friendly. She lives on a 12-acre farm in Silk Hope where she enjoys gardening, caring for farm animals, planting fruit trees, making medicine with medicinal plants and foraging for wild edible plants. During her free time, she is a pottery maker and plays her native “Son Jarocho” music of Veracruz, Mexico. She is currently pursuing a degree in Environmental Engineering at NC State University.
Dennis moved to the U.S. from El Salvador when he was 15 years old. After graduating from High School in California, he joined the United States Marine Corps. He was also a member of the California National Guard and served one tour in Iraq. In 2008, Dennis moved to North Carolina. In 2013, he graduated from NC State University with a bachelor and a master’s degree in Social Work. Since graduating, he has worked for Lee County Schools as a bilingual social worker. Dennis lives in Sanford with his family.
Helen has lived in Chatham County in 2009 and is happy to call Chatham “home”. She has worked as a certified nurse midwife at the Siler City Community Health Center since 2008. From 1998 to 2003, Helen provided midwifery care at the freestanding birth center in Chapel Hill of Piedmont Health Services. Previously, she worked in the midwifery department of Duke University Medical Center. Helen is fluent in Spanish, most of her patients at SCHC are Spanish speaking. She lived in Jalisco and Oaxaca in 1967 and 1972, then attended high school in Port Isabel, Texas, near Matamoros. Her high school experience served as an immersion program in Spanish. Helen has been a volunteer with the Hispanic Liaison and is honored to join as a board member. She looks forward to helping with the organization grow. Helen has 3 adult children and 4 grandchildren, who are the light of her life. She lives on 10 acres with 3 dogs, 4 cats, 11 goats and 25 chickens.
Jane Allen Wilson
Jane Allen is bilingual, a resident of Siler City, and has lived in Chatham County her entire life. She currently works as the Training Director for the N.C. Victims Assistance Network. She worked for 13 years with Family Violence and Rape Crises Services of Chatham County (FVRC) as a bilingual crisis advocate, court advocacy coordinator, and women’s shelter director. Other past organizations include the N.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence and NC Telamon. She has worked as a university ESL teacher and an assistant teacher at a multi-cultural elementary school in the Dominican Republic. In the 1990’s, she was the press representative for the American Dance Festival, worked for U.S. Senator Terry Sanford and was a clerk for the N.C. House Committee on Finance and Public Utilities. She is passionate about public education and currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Chatham County Board of Education.