Mission & Ministry

No Sad Story Ministries’ mission is to engage the community, transform lives, and promote respect and dignity for those in need through compassionate care, education, and leadership development. We help local churches build, design, and run outreach programs through a coordinated and collaborative approach. We bring faith and community leaders together to discuss and develop a framework for community partnerships. Our ministry is two-fold:

HIV/AIDS Ministry – We serve and support persons infected with and/or affected by HIV/AIDS in Rock Hill and the surrounding areas. Through outreach, prevention and community information programs, we commit to educate the public about HIV prevention while offering free and/or low-cost services to HIV/AIDS individuals and their families.

Domestic Violence Ministry – We serve and support persons affected by domestic violence in Rock Hill and the surrounding areas. Through education and awareness, we endeavor to eliminate violence and oppression against women and their children, while providing emergency and support services for victims and survivors of domestic violence.

Our Executive Board

Valerie Laverne Lawson Watkins, President

Mrs. Valerie L. Lawson-Watkins, President

I was born in Kinston, NC, July 9,1956. Raised with 5 brothers, my mom was my best friend.  She taught me how to be a lil girl, a young lady, a young woman, a nurturing mother and a good friend. I also lived  in Williamston, NC, Newark, NJ, Newburgh, NY, Bridgeport, CT, Groton, Ct, Atlanta, Ga, Charlotte, NC and now reside in Rock Hill, SC. My father was a pastor and my mom was an evangelist. After graduating from high school in 1974  with a diploma in Fashion Design, I attended Berkeley School of Merchandising in East Orange, NJ with  an Associates in Fashion Merchandising. I returned home in 1976 to assist her brother, Bishop Lonnell I. Lawson to establish his ministry and was ordained as an Evangelist at the age of 22. The passing of my father in 1994 was a catalyst for change that rippled throughout the Lawson family as we learned my father contracted and transmitted AIDS to our mother. My overwhelming love and compassion for my mother, who passed away in 1996 following a harrowing battle with AIDS eventually led me to write my first book in 2014, “No Sad Story”, and launch my ministry / organization. Having borne witness to the detrimental effect that the HIV/AIDS stigma has on those afflicted, including societal discrimination around education, housing, insurance, and employment, I felt called to established my 501c3, No Sad Story Ministry, in 2014 to be a voice for the suppressed HIV/AIDS community in honor of my mother. Mrs. Bertrina Lawson. On April 8,2020, Domestic Violence was added to my organization because of a tragedy that occurred in my husband’s and my home. I was at home, my husband wasn’t. Thank God!  I fled the scene and hid in my bedroom closet as I proceeded to dial 911.  I was unharmed physically. But traumatized for life along with my Goddaughter Sharekia’s living oldest son Alex. My goddaughter and her estranged husband’s 5-year-old son was shot and killed by him. Then, he committed suicided in our home. Cry Out 2 Get Out! Unmasking the Mask of Domestic Violence was birthed in her honor. I’m living to turn tragedy into Triumph! If I can help someone as I travel along, then my living won’t be in vain. You can donate to the cause.

Bishop Lonnel I. Lawson Sr., Ph. D, Vice President

Bishop Lonnell I. Lawson Sr., Ph. D, Vice President

Bishop Lawson is a highly accredited professional having graduated from University of Hartford with a BS in Business Management in l975, he furthered his education and ministry with a BA of Theology from Northgate Bible College, BA of Religious Study from Logos Bible College, a Master of Theology from Logos Bible Institute, and his Doctorate of Philosophy in Religion from the North Carolina College of Theology.  In 1978, he founded, established and organized Powerhouse Temple of Deliverance Church Inc., and remains its Senior Pastor/Apostolic Leader. This unique ministry serves as a voice proclaiming a Kingdom message through Kingdom methods with Kingdom manifestations. Continuing his educational pursuits, he entered and completed the Clinical Pastoral Education (APCE, Inc.), Internship and Residency Program at Yale New Haven Hospital in May 2008. He is currently, the first African American Pentecostal Staff Chaplain in the Department of Spiritual Care at Yale New Haven Hospital. In June 2005, Bishop Lawson was elected President of the Greater New Haven Clergy Association where he served for three consecutive terms. In 2010, he organized Kingdom International Assemblies and Afflictions (KIAA) as Presiding Prelate. Traveling and carrying the Kingdom message is a passion that has taken his ministry to: England, Japan, Korea, Holland, Jamaica, Jerusalem and many cities throughout the United States as well.

Leona Zeno, RN, BSN, Secretary

Leona Zeno, RN, BSN, Secretary

Leona has experienced a long and rewarding career in healthcare.  Having received her BSN in 1983 from Hunter Bellevue School of Nursing, she served at Brookdale Hospital Medical Center, Downstate Hospital Medical Center, Humana Hospital, and the Visiting Nurse Association in Brooklyn, NY. Most notably, Leona served with Advanced Home Care (formerly Home Care of Central Carolina) for 23 years, while also working part-time as a Sickle Cell nurse for Piedmont Services, and volunteering at Sickle Cell summer camps.  She retired in 2009, only to come out of retirement to serve for the University of North Carolina – Greensboro Student Health Services, retiring for the second time in 2017.  As a tireless educator with a passion for public health, Leona continues to advocate throughout her community by promoting awareness and education concerning HIV/AIDS.  Leona’s compassion for and service to the HIV/AIDS community in her area is driven in memory of her brother, who passed from the disease at the young age of 44. 

Sharon Harris, Treasurer

Sharon Harris, Treasurer

Sharon is a lifelong entrepreneur with an emphasis in sales and marketing, employee training and development, strategic planning, and budgeting. Over the course of her professional career she has built two successful small business ventures and launched a lucrative career in Network Marketing.  Since 1994, Sharon’s prowess in building effective Sales & Marketing teams has helped companies like Excel Communications and Fortune High Tech Marketing exceed their growth goals; while her love for serving others keeps her equally invested in community. As an Independent Contractor for InReach, an organization that serves the intellectual and developmentally disabled, Sharon coaches and assists low-functioning disabled individuals with the most basic of life skills.  She also volunteers at Bright Blessings where she helps to serve homeless and impoverished children, and is actively involved in her church ministries.

Patsy Mason

Patsy Mason, Prayer Facilitator

Patsy is an aspiring entrepreneur who owns and operates a flourishing travel business, having retired after a respectable 36-year career with the federal government.  Patsy’s career included serving at the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) where she traveled the US supporting individuals, families, communities, private and nonprofit sectors impacted by natural disaster.  Her educational background includes certifications in grief counseling and marriage seminars. Patsy served on the Hospice Board as a grief counselor for children, teens and adolescence adults for 10 years, and currently serves on the Grief Ministry at Stronghold Christian Church in Lithonia, Ga, and on the Board for Women of Integrity Board of Christian Church. Her passion is to bring healing to children and adults who have been through traumatic or stressful life experiences.  Patsy spends countless hours volunteering her time at various organizations including women’s shelters, feeding the homeless, tutoring elementary reading and math, and marriage counseling. 

Joyce Miller

Joyce Miller, Marketing/Media Facilitator

Joyce obtained her BA from the University of North Carolina where she majored in Theater Arts and Speech Communications, and minored in Psychology.  Following an industrious 23-year career in the Catering & Food Service industry, having held management positions with Marriott, Dillard University and AT&T State University, Joyce turned her sights to marketing. She currently serves as the WATS Director for Marketing & Research, Inc.; and she is the Owner & CEO of her own business, Miller World Travel since 2015.  Throughout her career, Joyce has received numerous accolades and awards, created programs like First Thursday Student Life Program for Dillard University, and she launched the University’s National Food Reclamation & Job Training Program.  She serves her community by volunteering for Fayetteville State University, Methodist College, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and Habitat for Humanity to name a few.  She is also a member of the Rotary Club, Lions Club International, CUFI, International Fellowship of Christians & Jews, and several travel related associations. 

Anne Whitt

Anne Whitt, Network Connections Coordinator

Anne is a licensed Chaplain and lifelong entrepreneur.  She received her Doctorate in Theology and Bachelor’s in Christian Counseling from James Dussault University.  Soon after graduation, she returned to serve as Dean of the University – a position she held for several years before leaving to run a multi-industry business venture with her husband.  Together, they owned and operated a grocery store chain with three locations, five apartment complex units, and a lounge.  After 20 years in business and following a harrowing medical journey when her husband fell ill, a fire was lit and Anne turned her full focus to healthcare and healthcare advocacy.  She went back to school, got a CNA license, and launched a patient-focused home healthcare business. Anne retired in 2014, but continues to share her experience, knowledge, and compassion by serving others through volunteerism.  She has led many bible study-groups, volunteered for the Rape Crisis Network, and most recently started a support group for Caregivers of America, where she is heavily engaged in patient and caregiver advocacy. 

Garry Ratliff, Research Resources

Garry L Ratliff Sr. is a seasoned Marriage and Family Therapist. He specializes in individual, couples, and family therapy. His areas of interest include adult and adolescent trauma as well as work with teens and young adults. He holds a B.S. in Electronic Engineering Technology from New England Institute of Technology and M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Eastern Nazarene College. Additional coursework in Trauma has been completed receiving a Graduate Certificate in Trauma Studies for mental health professionals at Cambridge College as well as completing a Dual Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution & Mediation from the University of Massachusetts Boston. For decades he has been an advocate in the deaf community where he served as an Educational Surrogate with the Special Education Surrogate Parent Program. He has also provided specialized home for deaf children through the Department of Children and Families (DCF) for more than 25 years. In addition, along with his wife, he received the Heroes Among Us Award, sponsored by the Boston Celtics to recognize individuals for their work with deaf children within the DCF organization. He has been a board member on the Institute for Deaf Ministry Development (IDMD), Families Creating Together (FCT), and No Sad Story (NSSM) as well as a Committee Member for the International Institute for Deaf Services (IIDS). Garry is deacon and member of the Deaf Ministry in Jubilee Christian Church. He is a sports enthusiast and resides with his family in Randolph, MA.