People who know Byron and Dana Moffett describe them as humanitarians, concerned with the welfare of all people, and the alleviation of suffering.
“Dana and Byron are people of service to our community and the community of Zimbabwe, Africa,” says Hope Fay, a naturopath and marimba player.
“They are some of the most giving, loving people I know,” Fay `says. “They work hard to make money to give away and help others here and beyond. Their humanitarian volunteerism provides healthcare, wells for water, solar, education, micro loans and other services that helps our community and Zimbabwe. They are a clear example of how to give, teach and love all people.”
The Moffetts believe people want to help themselves.
“People prefer to be given a hook rather than a fish; we have found this true locally and in Africa,” Byron says.
The Moffetts feel deeply about people’s suffering, and if they can help lessen others’ pain even a little it’s worth the effort.
“All we each can do is help the few people we feel led to, and keep in mind we can’t help everyone,” says Dana.
Stacie Burgua, a friend of the Moffetts, describes her experience with the couple.
“If you are ever in crisis, you want them in your corner! Dana was there for me with compassion when I went through a divorce, even finding a new home for me. She was there for me when I found new love and was our witness when we eloped,” Burgua says.
“She was there for me when I went into labor, and when it became apparent that my husband would not get back on the island in time. She calmly drove me to the hospital, one hand gently patting me, while I climbed up the back of my seat screaming the entire way. She coached me through that birth, reminding me to breathe, relax and look forward to the child soon to arrive.
“Behind Dana is Byron — a loving, devoted husband. What a gift they both are to our community!”
The Moffetts are ready to come the aid of anyone they know in need. Be it on South Whidbey, overseas or most recently in the Midwest.
Earlier this month, they got word that a friend of theirs across the country lost their only child; a 16-year-old son. Immediately they got on a plane.
Byron said there is something so hard to not be able to protect others from such pain as the loss of a child. Dana says we know suffering is part of the human condition, but it is not distributed evenly.
When the Moffetts returned four days later, they were forever changed from this heartbreaking experience.
They share as best they can. Dana starts, “After a 12-hour sitting Shiva over the 16-year-old’s body, a suicide victim of depression, the next day several hundred people gathered to support the grieving parents at the memorial. The father read their son’s suicide note, which thanked them for being wonderful parents, but said that he didn’t fit into this world. His father was unable to comprehend this.”
Dana tells how the brave parents, “called upon all of the teenagers to take the hand of the person next to them and swear a promise: To believe in their own strengths. If that failed … to seek help to reaffirm their belief in their own strengths. To finish out their allotted time on earth.
The mother got up and spoke to everyone at the memorial, ‘If any of you ever need help finding your strengths, please come to me. With the loss of my only child, I’m not a mother any longer so all of you are now my children.’ It was moving to watch a community, like our own here, come together,” she says.
The Moffetts put everything they have into anything they do, says Kristi Etzell, a local consultant with Tastefully Simple.
Dana and Byron’s many trips to Zimbabwe since 2005 have inspired and enriched many here on South Whidbey, Etzell says, recalling how they bring Zimbabwean guests back to stay with them, and how this enriches the people of South Whidbey.
“So many, including our children, have been touched by their stories and pictures. Byron’s work on wells and other projects resulted in my own kids wanting to travel to Zimbabwe someday,” Etzell says.
“Dana and Byron helped our kids to recognize that we all smile in the same language. During the summer months they have a weeklong marimba camp that is about much more than music. One of the Moffetts’ guests, Tonde from Zimbabwe, gifted our son with a hand-woven bracelet to wear until they met again,” she adds.
“The world gets smaller when we see beyond our borders.”
Byron thinks about the suffering in this community, our country, the world, and says “I think most people want to help in some manner.
“It’s harder in rough economic times, but we want to help if we can. The world is going to become more unstable, but I’m hopeful that people will rise to the occasion and resist the temptation to be overwhelmed, fearful and intimidated by it,” he said.
“I do think there are a lot of private organizations and individuals that are going in the right direction,” he says. “More and more, people are realizing that the best way to relieve suffering in the world is to give people the means to lift themselves out of poverty and to help them to gain hope.”