Down East Council was established in 2013 in response to a Saltwater Connections Resource Team recommendation that Down East needed better representation.

The primary concept was to comprise an organization made up of representatives from each of the 13 communities and to provide a unified voice for matters concerning the Down East region.  Out of that, the council developed the following vision statement:

Serve as a unified voice of our DE communities, promoting and preserving livelihoods in a growing economy, celebrating and honoring our heritage while protecting our unique coastal environment.

During the four years in existence, the following have attended as guests to the council's meetings:

Sheriff Asa Buck, Carol Lohr (TDA), Jonathan Robinson (CCBOC), Gene Foxworth (CC Dept Planning), Jay Styron (oyster farmer), representatives from County Health Dept. (Diana & Chris), Compass Points editor Jeff Adellett, Connie Mason (Writing interpretive sign information for Outer Banks Scenic Byway), Ernie Foster (Hatteras, Commercial Fisherman), Courtney Pickett (Duke student in Community Development), Nic Johnson (Highway Committee)

Below are accomplishments of the council:

  • Oversaw grant applications for SWC-funded projects
  • Participated in the county Strategic Planning process
  • Used results from county Strategic Planning survey to establish needs for Down East (Action Plan)
  • Helped explore roadside market at Lookout Grocery
  • Helped get a prescription drug drop-off point in the Down East area, located at Express Pharmacy in Otway
  • Instrumental in having a guard light installed at the pier on the east side of the Harkers Island Bridge
  • Participated in the Down East Christmas parade 2014 and 2015 representing Down East Council
  • Sponsored a contest with local artists to determine design of welcome signs
  • Established the council as a “Non Profit Asssociation”
  • Raised monies to purchase and install two welcome signs to Down East located on the west side of the North River Bridge and one near the ferry terminal on Cedar Island

Leadership of Down East Council (2013 - Present)

President:                 Mark Hooper
VP                             James Morris
Secretary:                 Tina Beacham

President:                 James Morris
Vice President:         Tom Hesselink
Secretary:                  Lillie Miller

President:                  Lillie Miller
VP:                             Tom Hesselink
Secretary:                  Barbara Garrity-Blake

President:                   Barbara Garrity-Blake
VP:                              Tom Hesselink
Secretary/Treasurer:  Lillie Miller  

President:                   Barbara Garrity-Blake
VP:                              Tom Hesselink
Secretary                    Art Noyes
Treasurer                    Lillie Miller    

President:                   Lillie Miller
VP:                              Tom Hesselink
Secretary                    Art Noyes
Treasurer                   Barbara Garrity-Blake