South Point sunset. Photo: C. Leinbach

For 12 years (1974 to 1986), Mark Moseley was the place kicker for the Washington Redskins (now Commanders). During that time, he led the NFL in field goals four times and is the all-time leading scorer for the Redskins.

Why would we start an editorial on Ocracoke with this sports item? After Moseley left, the team struggled with finding a good place kicker. The fans took for granted that when Moseley went onto the field there would be three more points in the bank, and many appreciated him only when he was gone.

Many businesses, organizations and governmental offices have had individuals who quietly excel at what they do and only after they left was their importance realized.

Ocracoke is a small community where, if you live here, almost “everyone knows your name.” Every year, people move here, and they all have an opportunity to contribute to the community.

And each year some leave the island.

This year, some longtime islanders who have departed are Dick and Janey Jacoby and Marcy Brenner and Lou Castro, who are the musical duo called Coyote.

These four individuals have made major contributions to the community.

Marcy and Lou are not only great performers, but they also have provided music lessons, workshops and opportunities for islanders to perform in front of others.

In winter months, they hosted cozy music and literary events in the former Coyote Den at the Community Square.

Dick and Janey retired from their jobs and moved here from northern Virginia in the 1990s. Since then, they provided thousands of hours of community service, particularly for the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department.

These days, documentation requirements for volunteer fire departments are so complex the work the Jacobys did for many years might be a paid position elsewhere.

Also soon leaving Hyde County is Stephen Basnight, the Hyde County Schools superintendent since the fall of 2018.

Basnight has been a crucial component of island life having done so much for this school system in the few years he was at the helm.

Islander Bill Jones, who died unexpectedly Jan. 28 after a fall on the island was an active volunteer in the community.

Bill also helped proofread the Ocracoke Observer and was our friend. We mourn his loss. For his many talents, his wit and cheerful disposition, we are grateful to have had his help and extend our deepest sympathy to his wife, Lida, and their family.

Expertise like that found in Steve, Marcy and Lou, the Jacobys and Bill are needed on Ocracoke, a unique place that has no formal government except that of the county government, the seat of which is 23 miles away across the Pamlico Sound.

The community relies on volunteers to serve on the various nonprofit boards and to perform their work. Only a few have paid staff, yet semi-professional and professional skills are needed here.

This is manifested in the continued search for administrative help by the Ocracoke Preservation Society (now filled) and the Ocracoke Tourism Development Authority, to name two. (See job postings in Classifieds.)

Long ago, we heard that serving on nonprofit boards requires the three Ws (different from the COVID-19 pandemic three Ws), and those are “Work, wealth and wit.”

We encourage others to offer their “three Ws”–in whatever amount or combination–to any of the organizations that make Ocracoke such an interesting and unique place to live. 

Everyone has many new chapters throughout their lifetime, and we thank Steve, Marcy and Lou and Dick and Janey for their chapters spent here and wish them well in their new ventures.

Photo by P. Vankevich
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  1. Connie and Peter: You did it once again! The latest issue of the Ocracoke Observer (March 2022; Vol. 24, No.1) is commendable on many levels not least of which is the usual variety and value of the well-written articles packing the 12 pages. The one that stood out the most to me in this issue was the editorial on page 11, “Island loses some good people.” You had me on the first four paragraphs. The bittersweet nature of this editorial was outweighed by the wonderful tributes included. The three Ws were the icing on the cake. May the tribe of those possessing the three Ws on Ocracoke increase! Keep up the great work you two! It is appreciated in Ransom Township, Pennsylvania.

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