Robert “Bob” Gest III – Neighbor of the Week

Robert “Bob” Gest III – Albemarle County

Tell us about your volunteer activities.

I volunteer on a variety of boards and committees. I serve as a member of the Board of Directors of the Jefferson Area Board for Aging (JABA); member of JABAs Ethics Committee; Vice-President of the Piedmont Virginia Community College Educational Foundation Board; Member of the Citizens Advisory Committee (works out of the office of the Public Defender); am a Community Cultural Ambassador (read to fifth graders monthly at the Baker-Butler Elementary School); speak at other County schools when requested; and a member of the local NAACP branch, to include emceeing its annual Freedom Fund Banquet. I might add that I previously served as a member of the Martha Jefferson Leadership Council, (1999 – 2003 ); Health-wise Steering Committee, Martha Jefferson Hospital (1998 – 2002; member of the Board of Directors and Member, Cville Rail, Charlottesville, Virginia (advocacy group for improved rail service from Charlottesville to Washington, DC (2007 -2009); Board Member of the Albemarle County Police Foundation, (1999 – 2004) and as a Reader for Reading for the Blind and Dyslexic, Charlottesville, Virginia,(2003 to 2004).

What inspires you to volunteer?

Three reasons why I volunteer are: (1) Because I firmly believe in the idea of paying it forward; (2) “to whom much is given, much is required”; and (3) my civic consciousness quotient is very high. I also try to set the example for my children and other young ones by serving as a role model for what I believe are the civic/community duties we all have.

If your volunteer work could make one long-lasting change, what would you want it to be?

One of my strongest areas of emphasis is education. Therefore, if what I do has a positive impact on the lives of the younger ones by convincing them of the value of education and helping to advance their education, I will be satisfied with my efforts. My mother and father, although uneducated, had as a mantra, “One should get all the education she can because that is one thing they cannot take away from you.”

What is a little-known fact about you?

I believe there is just one person in this entire area who knows what my nickname was when I was growing up in Florida. That person is my niece who has been sworn to secrecy. For the record, the nickname is not all that bad. If you must know what it is, please get back to me.

What brought you to Charlottesville/Albemarle County?

I was hired to serve on the faculty of the Federal Executive Institute and thus moved here from suburban Maryland in 1993.                                           

If you grew up here, tell us what makes Charlottesville/Albemarle special to you.

I did not grow up here (grew up in Florida). Charlottesville/Albemarle is special to me because of what I perceive to be its livability; education, arts, cuisine, social justice bent and the list goes on.