Kim Wimbish

by Doris D. Shadouh -

When Kimberly Wimbish’19, walks around the campus of Norfolk State University, her bright smile and charisma aren’t hard to miss. She never lets an opportunity to offer an encouraging word, point another student in the right direction, or to help other members of the Norfolk State Alumni community realize their dreams pass her by. She’s not only determined to achieve her goals in the classroom, she is also a woman on a serious mission to change the world outside of it.

Wimbish earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in 2019 while she juggled being a full-time mom and business owner. She has been running her own public relations firm for over eight years and decided to return to Norfolk State University as a student after attending an inspiring women’s conference that motivated her to reach the next level in her career. She has been a part of the Norfolk State University community for several years. Wimbish started in the athletics department, and it was this opportunity that allowed her to grow as a marketing professional and inspired her to branch out on her own. 

As a nontraditional student, Wimbish knew she would have tobalance life responsibilities with homework assignments and a hectic class schedule, but she had no idea that her journey to earn her bachelor’s degree would intersect with another mission that would alter the course of her life and countless others around the nation. One day she received a call to help a family that had gone through an unspeakable tragedy, and she did not hesitate to help despite her full schedule.

In 2017, Ashanti Billie, a 19-year-old college student was abducted from her job at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek. Her parents and the community frantically searched for her, but sadly her remains were later found in Charlotte, North Carolina. After such a devastating tragedy that rocked the entire community, Billie’s parents wanted to make sure that no other family had to suffer through the pain they endured. Wimbish joined them in the fight.

In the United States, if a person goes missing, there are alert systems in place to notify the public. Prior to 2018, there were only two types of alerts. The Amber Alert covered minors and the Silver Alert notified the public when senior citizens went missing. There was no system in place for adults ages18-64. Billie’s family believes that if this kind of system been in place during the time of her disappearance, it could have saved her life. 

The alert law was signed by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam in June 2018 and implemented statewide in July 2018. It was then signed into federal law by President Donald Trump in December. Wimbish worked with the Billie family, other local community leaders and elected officials including Delegate Jerrauld “Jay” Jones (D-Norfolk), then-U.S. Representative Scott Taylor (R-Virginia Beach) and U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia) to get the alert signed into law.

“The Ashanti Alert will be a beacon of hope for those that have a loved one deemed as missing under questionable circumstances,” said Ashanti’s mother Brandy Billie, upon the final passage of the federal legislation. “Our dream is to bring as many as possible of those missing back home safely.” Sadly, this alert could not save Billie’s life, but thanks to the Billie family, Wimbish, and the local community, countless lives will be saved thanks to their tireless work on this important legislation.

Wimbish says she will look back on this time in her life filled with pride that not only did she accomplish a major goal by earning her degree, but she also solidified her legacy by working with the Billie family and the community to make a difference in the lives of others forever.

 

Photo courtesy of Don Spencer

 

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