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Richmond Hill natives pursue careers helping others
Front, Joseph Hoke (L) and Andrew Hoke; back Allison Hoke Alexander (L) and Donna Hoke at Allison's luncheon Sept. 8 being inducted into the UGA Alumni Association's "40 Under 40" Class of 2016. - photo by Photo provided.

The Hoke siblings didn’t exactly plan for it, but all three have chosen paths as adults that involve helping others.

Andrew Hoke, Allison Hoke Alexander and Aimee Hoke Davis grew up in Richmond Hill and were active in the youth group at Richmond Hill United Methodist Church.

“Our parents (Donna and Joseph) have worked with the soup kitchen there for years,” Andrew said.

Allison agreed, saying she and her siblings were “raised with a mind set to be as helpful as possible.”

She is now the vice president of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and on Sept. 8 was honored by the University of Georgia Alumni Association’s “40 Under 40” Class of 2016.

Andrew recently returned from Kosovo — where he spent more than two years in the Peace Corps — in time to attend Allison’s luncheon. Aimee, a social worker and church youth group leader in North Carolina, was unable to attend.

Allison graduated from UGA with a degree in journalism and started off working in public relations for a hospital.

“I didn’t set out to work on ocean conservation, but when I moved to the DC area my experience translated to fund raising,” she said.

She gets back to the area on occasion, especially now that a local chapter has been established to support Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary.

“I’ll actually be back at the end of September for a program we’re doing on sustainable seafood,” she said. “I’m always amazed when I come back how much things have changed.”

She said her graduating class in 1995 was the first in the new Richmond Hill High School, where she was on student council and was on the yearbook staff.

“It was a pretty typical high school experience,” she said. “Sheltered is too negative a word, but it was a very quiet and safe community and I made the best of the opportunities that were available.”

Andrew, who graduated from Georgia College and State University, first heard about the Peace Corps at a presentation given by Jason Carter, grandson of former President Jimmy Carter.

“It was very inspirational,” he said. “It struck my sense of adventure and I saw it as a way to give back to the world.”

He was part of the first Peace Corps delegation to Kosovo and spent 27 months there teaching English in a village about 45 minutes away from the capital city of Pristina.

“It was a lot like Richmond Hill,” he said. “People there were very connected and really cared about each other.”

Andrew remembers his time in school as being “the kind of person who was friends with everyone but not in any specific group.”

He lived with a family during his time in Kosovo who had children in their 20s and looks forward to going back in the future to visit.

“I might go back when they get married but otherwise it’s pretty expensive,” he said.

For now Andrew is looking at what to do next but knows he wants to do something involved with refugee work.

“There are a lot of asylum seekers in the world who need help.”

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