“Lynn is a gift,” said SOH Branding Consultant Fran Sheff-Mauer. Fran and the rest of the SOH team receive weekly… almost daily emails… from Lynn Hildebrand, chronicling her many events and shares of Stars of HOPE with both children and on behalf of animals with the Humane Society of San Bernardino Valley. She follows the news and is one of the first to respond volunteering to send stars to where ever the latest natural or human-caused tragedy is occurring. She makes even the Energizer Bunny look like a slacker with her fierce determination to spread hope and kindness to those in need. She does it with an incredibly humble heart, never wanting any recognition.
Lynn lives in Riverside County, near San Bernardino, Calif.
“I will never, ever, ever forget the first time I saw the Stars. Everyone has their quiet, personal story. My personal recollection is not the day, but the questions that filled my mind as I drove near the temporary memorial site (Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, terrorist attack on December 2, 2015). Almost daily I drove by, sometimes stopping and sitting in my car by the side of the road; sometimes getting out and walking around – listening to people sing; watching them pray, gathered in a circle, heads bowed, hands clasped together; seeing a person with their hand resting gently on a picture of one of the victims – as if they were willing them to come back,” Lynn reflected. “But this day, as I approached the memorial, it was different. What was on the fence; what was blowing in the breeze? I remember clutching the Stars as they blew in the breeze and twisted on the fence. I remember almost gasping when I read the stars came from New York and Canada. And, I remember asking myself, ‘Why would people so far away care about what happens in San Bernardino?’ And, I remember thinking, ‘How did children know people in San Bernardino could benefit from people who care?’
Lynn flipped the Star over and there it was, ‘Stars of HOPE | New York Says Thank You.’
“I remember sitting in my car with my little dog, Brown Ears, tears streaming down my cheeks… feeling disbelief that someone could be so full of rage and anger… wishing I had known them, wondering if something I could have been said or done that would have lessened their hatred… feeling devastated for the families who lost a loved one.”
Fran said she first became familiar with Lynn through her efforts to care for the four-legged furry victims of such acts. “Lynn would have these amazing Stars of dogs be sent to other pet therapy programs, recognizing how stressful it is for them, too.”
Lynn volunteers at the San Bernardino Winter Festival, Great Kindness Challenge, Bing Wong, and countless hours thinking of how Stars of HOPE can be incorporated into schools, projects and in the media.
Lynn recognizes the healing brought through the human connectivity, “If we help just one person then we will have made a difference for that one person. And, you never know how huge a difference that might be; you might never know the impact seeing a star… holding it in your hands… gazing at it… could have upon a person. And, then that person shares their love, caring and kindness with another… all that HOPE rippling across the world!”