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Hometown Hero: Debra Davis

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OCEANA, W.Va. (WVVA) -- Debra Davis is the Founder and Executive Director of One Voice, a non-profit organization that has been helping individuals impacted by drug addiction since 2005.

"We just knew we had to help do something and everyone wanted it to be done," Davis said. "Everyone says when is someone going to do something about the drugs? But we really didn't see anyone doing it."

Davis says the inspiration behind the organization was seeing how the drug epidemic impacted the community.

"We prayed every Sunday morning at nine o'clock, we didn't cancel and we prayed. We prayed for pastors, their families, their communities, and it seemed like the drugs just continued to get worse and worse."

They opened the Oceana Office, that provides additional resources, such as peer support, to individuals struggling with addiction.

Since opening over a decade ago, the regional office in Oceana has expanded to include office space, a conference room, and a coffee shop which will employ individuals in recovery to help them get back on their feet.

"We hope to fight the stigma and show the community that families can come to a safe, drug free environment, sit down and have coffee, have sweets, have a lunch. Then even with the people in recovery, if they're having a bad day we also have compass counseling there for their help also."

The service doesn't just provide support for people recovering from drug addiction, it also combats food insecurity with programs such as Food for Angels, which is an idea Davis got as a teacher.

"I was a middle school teacher at that time, and the kids were coming and asking me for my lunch," Davis recalled. "And when I asked why they were telling me, you know we have no food in the house, we have nothing to eat I'm hungry this will do me until Monday morning, so we began to open for donations and there were individual portions of food."

Providing meals to the needy and resources for individuals in recovery doesn't stop in Wyoming County.

Melonie Terry, a volunteer with One Voice, says these are goals in the Raleigh County office as well.

"A lot of folks will stop by and we just have porch prayer if that's what they want or need at the time," said Terry. "A simple bottle of water, we do some basic needs, we have a blessing box mounted on the exterior wall of our office."

Davis does not take sole credit for what the organization does in the region. She says it's the volunteers, like Terry, who give up their time to serve.

"With the personal things that come and go, the volunteers are the backbone of this organization," Davis said. "God makes us look really really big, and we're not. It's a handful of people doing the same thing. Our volunteers have a passion for people first, they generally look at the individual and say what do you need and how can we help you, and then they do that."

For Terry, Davis' leadership makes volunteering with the organization worthwhile.

"She leads us by example, she's a servant leader and has a servants heart," Terry said. "She does not ask anything of a team member or a board member to do that she has not done herself or will not do herself. She lives it, she doesn't just proclaim it, she doesn't preach it, she lives it."

It's that servant's heart and passion for battling the drug epidemic, food insecurity, and love for the community that makes Debra Davis a Hometown Hero.

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Maria Sellers

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