Civic-minded, tenacious, sincere, dedicated and relentless are some of the words used to describe Diane Hinkle’s tenure with the Tucker Community Foundation.
Nearly 80 people gathered on Sunday, Dec. 10, at Rudolph’s in Thomas to thank Hinkle for her leadership and congratulate her on retirement. For 11 years Hinkle was the development director for the Foundation (2006-17). She also served as a member of the board of directors for 10 years (1996-2006).
David Moran, secretary of the Tucker Community Foundation Board of Directors, said that Hinkle’s legacy can be seen throughout the region.
“As we walk through Tucker County and the surrounding areas, we’ll find numerous projects and programs she helped develop and implement,” Moran said. “The Tucker Community Foundation will miss you, your leadership and the wonderful ideas you have shared.”
Hinkle was humbled by the outpouring of sentiments. She thanked her co-workers, family and friends for their support. As a parting gift she read a poem she wrote, noting it was in the spirit of Dr. Suess because of the time she had been spending with her grandchildren. It highlighted her 40 years of working and the need to treat “every day as a gift, a new road and curve.”
“It’s that curve that I love, it’s what makes life so rich. And the people like you, who allow me to pitch,” she read. “Those ideas and ‘rattlers’ that wear people out. Just ask my husband, my boss and my co-workers throughout. It’s been quite a ride and really a blast. Your well-wishes and love will stay with me steadfast.”
During the evening, Hinkle was proclaimed a “Distinguished Mountaineer” by Gov. Jim Justice and was presented with the award by Paul Daughtery, executive director of Philanthropy West Virginia. As written in the proclamation, Justice said Hinkle has been an instrumental leader during her time with the Tucker Community Foundation.
“Diane Hinkle is highly respected among her peers, and her legacy of dedication and commitment will remain quilted within the fabric of West Virginia for generations to come,” the proclamation reads.
Peggy Hawse, regional coordinator for U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, read a statement from the senator, extending congratulations to Hinkle on her retirement and her numerous contributions to the community.
“She initiated the Run For It campaign, a major fundraiser for nonprofit organizations across the region,” Manchin wrote. “Among her many accomplishments, Diane was a vital part of establishing the Potomac Highlands Food and Farm Initiative, which provides support to local farms. More recently, she was able to bring the Tucker Boulder Park to fruition, which I’m sure will quickly become a favorite among visitors and residents, alike.”
David Cooper, president of the Tucker Community Foundation Board of Directors, said he has always appreciated Hinkle’s ideas and follow through on projects.
“Once she gets an idea, she sees it through to completion,” he said with a smile. “Run For It and the Tucker Boulder Park would have never happened if it wasn’t for her.”
Dan Bucher, member of the Tucker Community Foundation Board of Directors and development director for Cortland Acres, has known Hinkle for more than 30 years. He worked with her at Cortland Acres in the 1980s.
“I’ve always had the greatest respect for Diane,” Bucher said. “She has left an indelible mark on the county and the region. She’s persuasive and tenacious and we all have benefited from it.”
Jason Sites, an attorney and friend, agreed with Bucher.
“I’ve never met a more civic-minded person who wants the best for her region. She’s honest and sincere,” he said.
To cap the evening off, Joel Wolpert of the Wolpertinger designed a one-minute animated video, documenting Hinkle’s journey and accomplishments with the Foundation.
“Thank you for the time working together on the annual report and other marketing ideas,” Wolpert said. “I hope you enjoy your life as a flipbook animation.”
The Tucker Community Foundation operates in eight counties, Barbour, Grant, Mineral, Pocahontas, Preston, Randolph and Tucker counties in W.Va. and in Garrett County, Md. Inspired by the flood of 1985, the mission of the Foundation is to create opportunities for the communities we serve. For more information on the foundation or how to establish an endowed fund within the service area call 304-478-2930 or visit tuckerfoundation.net.