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Local search team member gets state honor

K9 cadaver dogs Lili and Brava undergo hundreds of hours of training yearly. Their handler Nina Cipriani, right, has been chosen for a prestigious honor by state search and rescue officials. (BDSR)

A member of a region-based search and rescue team has received a top honor from Virginia officials.

Nina Cipriani, a dog handler from Abingdon who assists the group with her two cadaver dogs Lili and Brava, was recently named the recipient of the Lisa Hannon Award by the the Virginia Search and Rescue Council.

"I was so amazed to have won the Lisa Hannon Award because it is voted on by the past recipients, all of whom are people I have looked up to over the years as mentors,” Cipriani said in a report published by the council.

Cipriani has been with Black Diamond for 11 years. The group, which has members from both Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, is commonly dispatched by area law enforcement in both states in search and rescue operations.

Her selection marks eighth time a member of the local group has won the Hannon award.

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