HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WSAV) – A Lowcountry philanthropist who recently passed is being honored for her years of service in Hilton Head in a very special way. 

Linda Babel dedicated her life to helping young people in need, and now the children of the Boys and Girls Club of Hilton Head have built a reading garden to remember her life of service. 

Linda and Frank Babel worked with the Boys and Girls Club for years before Linda’s death in 2022. 

“They realize that children are our future, and particularly, I think they understood that the children that we serve here at the club are some of the most vulnerable in our community, and they really wanted to be able to make sure that their life is better in any way that they could,” said Kim Likins. 

Likins, the director of the island’s Boys and Girls Club, says Frank asked that all memorial donations be sent to the club instead of his family, and after an outpouring of gifts, club staff knew they needed to honor Linda’s legacy. 

“We received so many memorial donations in her honor, we really wanted to do something to keep her memory alive here at the club and we knew reading was special to her,” she said. “And, because 48% of our kids are Latino and English is their second language, we often have children who struggle with reading, so we want to provide many opportunities for them to be able to get on grade level through reading.” 

The club partnered with a local landscape company called The Greenery and received all the plants at no cost. Likins says having the children of the club involved every step of the way has been a special learning opportunity. 

“Now it’ll be their responsibility to maintain it, too. And we’re excited because the plants in the pots they understand are plants that need to be changed out seasonally — so, that will be their job, to each season, change out those plants,” she said.

And as for Frank’s reaction — Likins says the garden was a total surprise — but one met with gratitude. 

“He was overwhelmed, too, to actually see it, but just so joyful that her memory is going to always be a legacy here,” Likins said.