Linda Vestal Giving Hands Foundation Inc.
Helping the Youth Pursue College Education
Linda Vestal Giving Hands Foundation Inc. in Bunnell, Florida was established in 2016. To honor our namesake, we offer scholarship programs to interested students who dream of one day joining the police force and similar fields.
Our team fosters a caring and community-oriented environment. We are dedicated to increasing parent and student involvement in the pursuit of tertiary education.
The Linda Vestal Giving Hands Foundation
Linda W. Vestal was a remarkable woman who led a full and purposeful life. She tirelessly gave so much of her life, to so many people and causes, that her passing left a huge void in the hearts of those who knew and loved her, and in the lives of those who benefited from her dedicated community service.
From her historic and successful career as New Jersey’s first female Chief of Police to her many volunteer hours with local civil services and non-profit organizations, Linda was always leading, giving, helping, and volunteering. Linda was like the “energizer bunny” – she kept going, and going, and going. Where she got the energy to do all that she did, we don’t know.
What we do know is that she always found comfort and peace in God’s holy words. In Proverbs 21:26 we read “…the righteous person gives and does not hold back.” Linda Vestal gave from her heart, and she did not hold back.
Linda Vestal had an impressive law enforcement and criminal justice career. She received a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Jersey City State University. On April 16, 1979, she was sworn in as the first female sheriff’s officer for the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department in Somerset, New Jersey. She rose through the ranks to Sergeant Lieutenant and then to Captain.
On October 4, 1996, Linda became the first female Chief in the State of New Jersey. In 1998, Governor Christine Whitman put forth Linda’s candidacy, and the New Jersey State Senate confirmed her nomination to the State’s Advisory Parole Board. In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, Chief Vestal and her team of officers provided first responder search and recovery support at Ground Zero, and in 2002 Chief Vestal became the first woman voted President of the Somerset County Police Chief’s Association.
After retiring to Palm Coast, Florida, Linda volunteered with many community organizations and was honored to serve on the Flagler County Sheriff’s Department Advisory Council.
Linda’s life wasn’t all work and no play. She and her husband of 53 years, Foster, enjoyed traveling the world together, and they especially enjoyed cruising. Linda was also a beloved mother and grandmother.
Today, The Linda Vestal Giving Hands Foundation follows Linda’s example; we do not hold back. We give in her honor to those pursuing a college education in criminal justice and law enforcement. When we leave this program today, let us remember a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others’?” Ask yourself that question, remember Linda Vestal’s giving hands, and then give and don’t hold back