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Beyond Neighborly

Northern Neck woman recognized for life of selflessness

October 2023

Rosa Forrester (front row, second from left) smiles as she learns she is the 2023 recipient of the Unsung Virginian award. (Photo courtesy of Northern Neck Electric Cooperative)

by Jim Robertson, Staff Writer

Rosa Forrester is often referred to as the most generous person in the Northern Neck. The Richmond County native and former circuit court clerk was recently presented with the Unsung Virginian award by the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives.

Brian Mosier, president & CEO of VMDAEC, presents the Unsung Virginian award to Forrester. (Photo courtesy of Northern Neck Electric Cooperative)

On Aug. 23, Northern Neck Electric Cooperative staff and board of directors, as well as some friends of Forrester, were waiting for her in the co-op auditorium in Warsaw, Va. Forrester believed she was attending a luncheon honoring some of the co-op’s longtime members — her mother, Ida Mae Sanders, included. Forrester’s emotions got the best of her when she discovered the trickery used to lure her to the event in her honor. She’s not one who desires recognition for her acts of kindness.

Since Forrester’s career with the circuit court clerk’s office began in 1970, neighbors and friends recall her active involvement with nearly every civic organization in the area, including Red Cross blood drives, Salvation Army, VFW, local chambers of commerce, Habitat for Humanity, Little League, YMCA, Ruritans, Rotary and the food bank. She also supports her church, Cobham Park Baptist, where she serves as financial secretary. A 1966 graduate of Rappahannock High School, Forrester has two daughters, Cristal Harper and Beth Grimstead, two grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Harper works in the office at Cowart’s Seafood, and Grimstead teaches eighth grade at Montross Middle School.

“I have known Rosa all my life, and she stands out as the most giving person in the Northern Neck area, particularly in Richmond County,” says NNEC Board Director Rusty Brown, who closed his remarks with a quote from Forrester’s daughter, Cristal. “Both of my feet wouldn’t fill one of her shoes.”

Forrester was featured in the January 2013 “Good Neighbors” column in Cooperative Living magazine, where she was described as the Northern Neck’s humble hero. The late Bill Sherrod, former editor, writes, “Rosa Forrester exudes kindness. Her soft voice and gentle demeanor instantly put you at ease and communicate subliminally that here is someone who would do anything she could to help a person in need.”

During her remarks, Forrester repeated a statement from the 2013 article by saying, “I’ve always felt like, if you see something that needs to be done or a person or organization that needs help doing something for the good of the community, you ask what you can do.”