Hal Hunter: Long time Rappahannock County volunteer and activist who has led community efforts in historic preservation, housing, education, transportation, conservation, senior services, and food security. Volunteer highlights: founder of Plant A Row, the Rappahannock Food Pantry, and its kids’ meal “backpack” program. Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection and Rappahannock County Conservation Alliance.
Founder of Rapp at Home. Instrumental in establishing the savings account program “Family Futures” for Rappahannock students. Supported and helped fund, with his wife’s inheritance, the Beverly Hunter Outdoor Learning Space at Rappahannock Elementary School. Organizer of the 2019 Neighbors Helping Neighbors housing repair project. With Beverly the 2009 Rappahannock Citizen of the Year. Lives in Amissville, where he and Beverly bought their property in 1968.
The Spark: “Honestly, I don’t know what motivated me to get into community service. When I retired, I looked for something to do that would get me out of the house, meet new people, and make a difference. I did not have a history of volunteering. I eventually dipped my toe in the water with a few volunteer projects and things just took off from there.”
Proudest Achievement: “Building a successful business. I started a distance learning company in 1993 where instructors lectured in front of studio TV cameras. The lectures were then distributed by satellite. This was before the internet era so it was cutting edge in terms of providing educational content and finding audiences around the country who would pay to watch it.”
Biggest Challenge: “I must go back to my business. A year or two after I started the distance learning company, my son, Shawn, joined me. Around then the internet was starting to bloom and provided a new way of doing business. Since using the internet was much more cost effective, we quickly pivoted to that technology. It was a big challenge to reprogram and market our operation, but we were successful and ended up selling the business for a good profit.”
Why It Matters: “Helping through community volunteering can provide a sense of well-being in the individual who gives of their time. Scientific studies show that ‘doing good for others is good for me’ in that it releases a hit of dopamine and other ‘happy’ chemicals in the brain. So, I say to my fellow Rappahannock neighbors, get happy and join in the fun of participating in community service.”
Favorite Rappahannock Treasure: “Walking my dog Molly three times a day. There are beautiful lanes and trails around our home and these walks give me the opportunity for reflection, not to mention good exercise for the both of us.”
— By Bob Hurley for Foothills Forum