NAMI Hampton/Newport News was originally established by Mr. Rufus B. Easter Jr. and Mrs. Evelyn Easter. Their son, Rufus Easter III, or “Skip” as he was affectionately known, was diagnosed with a mental health disability not long after graduating from Hampton University in 1975 with a degree in Political Science. Skip sadly passed away on July 11, 2013 after a lengthy illness. Initially, they began advocating for services for their son but soon expanded into advocating for services on behalf of individuals and families affected by mental health disabilities throughout the community. They became a voice for those who did not have a voice.
Mr. Rufus Easter, Jr. along with other contributors such as Mary Ann Bergeron with Virginia Association of Community Services Boards, Harriett Storm with Hampton/Newport News Community Services Board, Robert Armstrong, with Norfolk NAMI, Tommy Cubine, R.N. of Virginia Beach, and Linda D. Gurley, R.N. were influential in the establishment of NAMI Virginia becoming incorporated March 28, 1984 when they laid the groundwork in Wintergreen, Va.