Frank and Lynda Hester have had a lot to reflect on and celebrate this month, and as part of our family, we’re celebrating with them as we mark milestones during our Community Foundation’s 40th Anniversary year.
Frank’s mom, Naomi Collins Hester, would have been 84 on July 28, 2022. She spent her lifetime giving to others, first as a teacher at Manteo High School and at Head Start. She co-founded Monday Night Alive, a still-thriving, Roanoke Island after-school program that mentors school-age youth. She was a social worker for older adults, and she worked at Dare County Department of Education’s central office for many years, until retirement. She volunteered as a Sunday School teacher, was a member of the Echoes of Heritage, and served on the boards of dozens of organizations, including Children and Youth Partnership, Health and Human Services, and East Carolina Bank.
Before Naomi passed away in 2009, her family created the Hester Family Legacy Fund in 2008 in her honor. “It was a way to keep her memory alive and also to continue to reach out and help people without looking for anything in return,” her son Frank said.
Contributions by family and friends helped the fund quickly grow. The very next year, the Hester family began recommending grants to veterans at risk, children at risk, and older adults at risk. So far, thanks to the power of endowments, more than $10,000 in grants have been awarded to local charities that work with children, veterans, and older adults, and there is more than $14,000 in this fund—and growing.
40 years ago, Naomi was 44, in the prime of her life, working each day for brighter futures in our community. Forty years ago, Frank and Lynda Hester were getting married on a little beach in Hawaii; they’re celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary on July 31st. Forty years ago, David Stick was dialing up friends with an idea to create a Community Foundation for the Outer Banks.
We are so fortunate here to count compassionate, action-oriented families like the Hester’s as neighbors and friends. We’re particularly honored at our Community Foundation to have Lynda Hester’s leadership as our board’s current Secretary.
We also are enormously grateful that there is this place on the Outer Banks where people like Naomi can be honored through a family fund, and where legacies like hers can continue to create good in our community forever. During a time where many are divided, Frank remembered a quote his mother used to say, “We may not always see eye to eye, but I hope we can see heart to heart.” We are forever grateful to our founders and early leaders for seeing heart to heart, and for having the vision and fortitude to establish this Community Foundation, 40 years ago.