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January 02 2013

Jerry W. Hester, II Joins Operation HOPE Midwestern Board of Directors

Former basketball pro to champion financial literacy and dignity initiatives throughout Illinois and neighboring states.

LOS ANGELES – January 2, 2012 – Operation HOPE announced today that Downey Group Consultant Jerry W. Hester, II has been appointed to the organization’s Midwestern Board of Directors. With this apportionment, Hester will become an ambassador of the nonprofit’s Silver Rights Mission.

As a member of the Midwestern Board, Hester will provide leadership, guidance and help generate support for HOPE programs and activities. His role will include encouraging financial literacy and economic empowerment for youth and adults during his two-year term.

Hester joined The Downey Group with an already decorated career in the insurance industry. He has developed a successful business through his hard work, knowledge, and integrity, as well as his emphasis on building long lasting relationships. Hester focuses on assisting in the decisions that have an enormous impact on the financial future of his clients and their families through risk management, wealth accumulation, executive benefits, business succession, and wealth transfer. In 2010, Hester received his Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation, and is an active member in NAIFA (National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors).

Hester is a member of the University of Illinois Alumni Association Board of Directors, where he is on the finance and investment committee, as well as a Foundation Member for the University of Illinois Foundation. Hester is the expert analyst for the Illinois men's basketball team on the Illini Sports Network.

Hester attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and received his degree from LAS in Speech Communications in 1997. As a student, Hester was a star basketball player earning All-Big Ten honors, as well as a Big Ten Championship in 1998 as a senior captain. After graduation, Hester fulfilled his dream of being a professional athlete with a 6 year basketball career playing in Europe on teams from Poland, Israel, England, and Serbia. During his time as an athlete, he visited 24 different European countries and learned to speak Polish.

The Downey Group, Inc. is a member of M Financial, a network of some of the finest independent investment and insurance firms in the United States. The firm provides high quality life insurance, long term care, disability programs, and related planning, for affluent individuals, families, and businesses. (Securities are offered through M Holdings Securities, Inc., a registered broker/dealer, member FINRA/SIPC.  The Downey Group, Inc. is independently owned and operated.)

HOPE’s Midwestern Board is comprised of some of the region’s most powerful executives, decision-makers, bankers and economists. These individuals play an essential role in driving HOPE’s movement to expand economic opportunity, and make capitalism and free enterprise accessible to underserved communities. A complete 2013 list of HOPE's Board may be viewed at