"I saw Elizabeth as a great encourager. She had the capacity to make anyone feel capable and talented. Her compassionate and generous spirit infused all she did. The Elizabeth Edwards Foundation is a perfect reflection of that spirit. Elizabeth wanted nothing more than to give others the tools to strive and to succeed. Her family, her work, her writing, and her life are proof of that."
Hargrave S. McElroy was a close friend and confidant of Elizabeth Edwards and now serves as a board member of the Elizabeth Edwards Foundation. Hargrave was born in Lexington, North Carolina and grew up in Columbia, South Carolina. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1974 and from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1977. She now resides in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she first met Elizabeth.
Hargrave and Elizabeth were dear friends for 29 years. Elizabeth and Hargrave first met as young mothers in 1981, and over the years that followed they shared an incredible journey. During both the 2004 Kerry/Edwards Campaign and the 2008 John Edwards for President Campaign, Hargrave travelled with Elizabeth as her assistant and companion. In her book Saving Graces, Elizabeth described Hargrave as the perfect person to have beside her: "She had no experience on campaigns, but she was a teacher and, what's more, the mother of three boys. That's enough experience to handle any job. Choosing Hargrave was one of the best decisions I would make."
Long before joining Elizabeth on the campaign trail, Hargrave worked in the United States Senate office of J. Strom Thurmond (R-SC), the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the United States Bankruptcy Court of the Eastern District of North Carolina. Since 1995, Hargrave has been a teacher in the Humanities Department at Needham B. Broughton High School, where both Wade and Cate Edwards attended. Hargrave also serves on the board of the Wade Edwards Foundation. Hargrave has been married for 36 years to Richard C. McElroy III, and is the mother of three adult sons and grandmother to one grandson.