The Friends of New Hampshire Drug Courts’ mission is to support all established and developing Drug Courts in the State of New Hampshire, by such activities as, but not limited to, fundraising and the organization and implementation of drug court participant incentive programs, classes, forums and the creation and maintenance of libraries developed to support Drug Courts in carrying out its duties and responsibilities.
The Friends will promote and fund social, educational and other similar nonprofit purposes and raise donated funds in accordance with the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code.
The Friends of NH Drug Courts is a registered NH Non-profit Corporation. NH Business ID number: 585029.
NH Corporate Division Website Listing
The Friends of New Hampshire Drug Courts ( the Friends ), formerly known as the Friends of the Grafton County Drug Court, officially expanded into a statewide tax-exempt charitable nonprofit organization in November 2015 through notification to the New Hampshire Attorney General and the Internal Revenue Service. As a statewide organization the Friends is dedicated to support the activities and participants of all Drug Courts in New Hampshire.
The Friends of New Hampshire Drug Courts is the first in the nation statewide nonprofit Drug Court support organization. Currently there are seven established Drug Courts in New Hampshire in Belknap-Laconia, Cheshire, Grafton, Hillsborough South-Nashua, Hillsborough North, Rockingham and Strafford counties.
Because Drug Courts are designed to work along with the criminal justice system offering defendants whose offenses are substance abuse driven an alternative sentencing option, the Friends will work to enhance those programs by providing additional privately raised funding for incentives as well as related education and training.
Currently Drug Court programs are funded only through county taxes. There is a strong move for the State to fund part of each Drug Court’s operating budget in partnership with counties. The Friends fundraising will not replace state or county funding of Drug Court programs, but rather enhance taxpayer funding.
The Drug Court alternative sentencing program is a nationwide program with a proven record of success that achieves real results in combating drug and alcohol addiction and returning the participant as a productive, employed members of his or her community.
Drug Courts are extremely successful in rehabilitating participants who graduate from the 12 to 24 month programs. The recidivism rate, the rate at which offenders get sent back to jail, for Drug Court graduates in Grafton and Strafford counties is around 22% as compared to prisoners statewide with a recidivism rate of close to 40% and nearly 60% nationally. There are more than 2,900 Drug Court programs throughout the nation.
The original Friends of Grafton County Drug Court was formed in 2009 and was the first such nonprofit in New England. It’s focus was the Grafton County Drug Court program. The expansion into a statewide nonprofit organization was developed through ongoing discussions with Chief Justice Tina Nadeau and other stakeholders working together to put in place programs to help halt the growing heroin and drug crisis that is touching all New Hampshire communities across all social and economic sectors.
Ed Rajsteter, President
After being involved for more than 40 years in the Financial Services industry with various financial institutions, Ed retired and in 2006 moved from NJ to NH with his wife Karen.
During those 40 plus years, Ed had the opportunity to serve as County Administrator for Hudson County, NJ. Ed served four years in the U.S. Navy and graduated from St. Peter’s University with a BS in Economics. Ed served on various boards including the Hudson County Vocational School Board and Headrest, Inc. Ed also served as Executive Director of Headrest, Inc.
Ed and Karen currently reside in Mountain Lakes in North Haverhill. They both enjoy skiing hiking, golf, cooking, music and travel.
Bill Howell, 1st Vice President
Bill is the Founder and Principal of Howell Valuation, LLC, an Exeter, NH based business valuation firm servicing closely-held and family-owned businesses throughout New England. His various professional activities include serving as a Board member of the NH Society of CPA’s, the recent Chairperson of its Business Valuation Committee, and the current Chairperson of the Business Valuation Committee for the ME Society of CPA’s.
Bill has been designated by the AICPA as an ABV Champion (to support its Accreditation in Business Valuation program) and its National ABV Champion of the Year for 2012.
Additionally, his background includes performance in senior management roles with two closely held companies in Chief Executive Officer (non-family manager in a family business) and Chief Financial Officer positions. He previously worked with Coopers & Lybrand as an Audit Manager.
Bill is a graduate of Bucknell University and has an MBA in Finance from Boston College. He resides in Stratham, NH with his wife, Beth, and his dog, Toby.
Cheryle Pacapelli, 2nd Vice President
Cheryle, a woman in long-term recovery from alcohol and other drugs for 27+ years, recently joined Harbor Homes as its Project Director for Peer Recovery Supports – Facilitating Organization. She is responsible for working with Recovery Community Organizations across the state to provide peer recovery support services. Cheryle previously worked for New Futures as the Community Engagement Director and worked for eight years in Connecticut as a Program Manager for Recovery Housing, Director of Operations, and the Director of Recovery Services at CT Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR) from 2004-2012. During her time at CCAR she managed three Recovery Community Centers, Telephone Recovery Support Program, Recovery Housing Program, Volunteer Services, Recovery Coach Training, Recovery Training Series, and Recovery Walks.
She is the co-owner of Stepping Stone House, a transitional living home for men in recovery seeking to transition from treatment and jail back into mainstream society. Cheryle has been providing and implementing recovery support services for over 17 years and brings her passion and enthusiasm to her work everyday. She currently lives in Salisbury, NH. Cheryle has a passion for helping others to maintain and sustain their recovery.
Edward O’Reilly, Treasurer
Originally from Long Island NY, Ed moved to Manchester to attend NH College, receiving his business degree in 1974. After accounting experience eligibility, sat for and passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant examination in November 1987. Now retired, Ed was employed by the City of Manchester NH Municipal Fire Department. Assignments there included heading up the prevention office responsible for administration in compiling investigative reports, public education, prevention related City permits and code enforcement. Accounting experience includes employment with the statewide firm of Richard J. Santerre & Company CPAs, Nashua and Manchester. Santerre & Co is a general practice, full service CPA firm providing compilation, review and audit services, along with tax and related work as contracted.
Ed volunteers as a board member with the New Hampshire Society of CPAs, is a member of the finance committee, Parish of the Transfiguration, Manchester, and holds a position as a Chartered Organization Representative, Daniel Webster Council, Boy Scouts of America. Ed and his wife Pauline currently reside on Manchesters’ west side. They have 2 adult children and 5 grandchildren.
Nancy Russell, Secretary
Prior to joining the Friends, Nancy practiced critical care nursing as an RN at a number of academic institutions across the country, including the University of Michigan and the Veterans Medical Centers in both Michigan and Seattle, Washington. After moving to the Hanover-Lebanon area, Nancy was an ICU nurse at DHMC for over 16 years, followed by four years as a DHMC Risk Manager. From there, her career turned to law, graduating from UNH School of Law and being admitted to the NH Bar in 2006. Her law practice included healthcare risk management and compliance for area hospitals, and work for New Hampshire Legal Assistance in the areas of Family Law and Disability. Nancy has stepped back from her law practice and currently devotes 100% of her time to volunteer work with the Friends and also the Advocates for the Grafton County Mental Health Courts.
Apart from her volunteer work and her family, she enjoys gardening, golf, baking, reading, drawing, painting and photography. She lives in Etna, NH with her husband and three “fur kids”, Callie, Max and Phil.
Directors and Boards
Board of Directors:
The Board of Directors include the President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, individual Directors elected to terms specified in the By-Laws and a Director representing each of the established Drug Courts in the state.
The current members of the Board of Directors are: Bill Howell, Edward O’Reilly, Nancy Russell, Lynn Fuller, Kathryn Marchocki, Cheryle Pacapelli, Larry Guaraldi, Father John Mahoney, Dee Belanger, Don Perlee and Ed Rajsteter.
The Advisory Board includes Honorable Chief Justice Tina Nadeau, Alex Casale, NH Statewide Drug Offender Program Coordinator, Jennifer Stone, Grafton County Drug Court Coordinator, Jamie Preston, Stafford County Drug Court Case Manager, Chris Gowell, Strafford County Drug Court Coordinator, Amanda Steenhuis, Managing NH Public Defender-Nashua, Jacqui Abikoff, Belknap Country Drug Court Executive Director, Allison Welsh, Cheshire County Drug Court, Christine McKenna, Rockingham Country Drug Court Coordinator and Julie Christensen-Collins, Hillsborough-South Drug Court Coordinator.
Honorary Board Members:
The Honorary Board Members include U.S. Senator Governor Maggie Hassan, Former U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Former Congressman Frank Guinta, Congresswoman Anne Kuster, Robert Gasser, NH Executive Councilor Joseph Kenny, Bonnie Reid Martin and Linda Saunders Paquette.
Executive Committee, Finance & Disbursement Committee, Governance Committee, Development Committee, Publicity & Website Committee and Other Ad Hoc or Program Committees.