Montague retires from Eagle’s Wings

Published 9:00 am Saturday, June 22, 2024

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Ann-Marie Montague attended her last board meeting as Eagle’s Wing’s Executive Director on Thursday, June 20. 

This does not come as a shock to fellow board members, because they have spent the last two years preparing for this moment. 

In 2022, Montague notified board members of her intentions to retire by the summer of 2024. Two years to board members and volunteers seemed light years into the future and not something to be concerned about. That feeling persisted until January of this year when she politely reminded them that it was time to start looking for her replacement. 

During a second round of searching in May, Montague and board members found Vanessa Love whom they’ve hired.  Montague and Love will overlap for the next few weeks as Love receives training from Montague. 

Ten years ago, Montague was being named the new Executive Director. Having just graduated seminary school in Cambridge, Massachusetts in her 60’s, Montague relied on her experience in the corporate finance world and her newly acquired knowledge of ministerial work to help Eagle’s Wings become what it is today. 

Eagle’s Wings is a nonprofit food pantry whose mission is to be a dependable food source for low-income individuals and families in Beaufort County. They provide clients with produce, meats, breads and non-perishable food items.

It is a $300,000 operation that operates entirely on grant funding from local businesses and organizations such as Nutrien, ECU Health Foundation, Jonathan Havens Charitable Trust, the Washington Noon Rotary and more. It does not receive federal or state funding. 

Last month, Eagle’s Wings served an estimated 40 new households, 12 of those were new as of Tuesday, June 11. 

“When a client hugs your neck, you know you’ve done something right,” Montague said in talking about what leading Eagle’s Wings has meant to her and seeing the appreciative smiles on clients’ faces. “You don’t do it so somebody pats you on the back. You do it, because you know in your heart that it’s the right thing to do.” 

“But it’s awfully nice when someone says, ‘thank you,’” she continued, “or gives you a hug, and says they are going to miss you. That’s nice and it makes you feel like, ‘okay, I must have been doing the right thing all these years for people to be so wonderful.” 

A dynamic, energetic and passionate person such as Montague doesn’t see retirement as a time to rest. She sees it as time that can be spent on small projects and developing a trans-Atlantic relationship. As far as her relationship is concerned, she is “very excited to explore many new opportunities.”