• The Daily Herald

Gregory B. Davis Foundation 20th Anniversary Celebration Recognizes Greatness

ROANOKE RAPIDS:The Gregory B. Davis Foundation members and guests attended the foundation’s 20th anniversary celebration Saturday night. The event took place at Kirkwood Adams Community Center. People dressed in semi-formal attire, dined on a candle-lit dinner provided by Soulful Sisters Catering and Gourmet, and listened to live entertainment. The night kicked off with Master of Ceremonies Anton Day introducing a performance by rhythm and blues singer Joe Jenkins of Silver Spring, MD. The night ended with the sultry jazz sounds of JaShaun Peele and Friends of Raleigh, NC.

GBDF was formed to preserve the legacy of Garysburg native Gregory Brazil Davis, who died of AIDS in March 2000, according to the foundation’s website. The organization’s mission is to enhance the lives of others through programs that are educational and support health. More information can be found at bit.ly/37ZfX0B.

“It doesn’t seem like it’s been 20 years, but as I’ve always said, we’re small, but we’re still mighty because the board is still a working board,” GBDF President Edna Davis-Brown said. “I’m really proud.”

Several people and organizations were highlighted during the event, such as Patricia Peele, Iris F. Williams, Norma Hedgepeth, Collier Harley Davidson, Halifax County Chief District Court Judge Brenda Branch and The Daily Herald. Special recognition was also made for GBDF Board Member Valencia Davis and COO, Brenda Bracey.

Brenda and her husband, George Branch, were Gold Sponsors of the celebration. “When they started, they started with the mission of helping other organizations or other small groups to prosper and to grow and to be successful,” Brenda said. “They would look throughout the community and find other charitable organizations that they could invest in. One of them, the very first, was the teen court. We were excited because someone believed in that for the children.”

In addition, a Community Service Award ceremony recognized individuals who were nominated in four categories. A Better Chance A Better Community received the “Youth Mentorship and Development” award; the Town of Garysburg Mayor Roy Bell received the “Cultivating Healthier Lifestyles Youth, Adults, Women and Children” award; Marla Jerman received the “Volunteerism and Civic Responsibility” award; and awarded posthumously was Doris Mack, whose award was accepted by Mack’s former employee, Halifax County System of Care Director Stephanie L. Smith.

“People know the goodness that she gave to everyone, the greatness, the exceptional, whatever she had she gave it,” Smith said after the ceremony. “She was a pillar of this community and gave everything she had. She made a difference, not just in children’s lives but parents’ lives. Even unto death, she’s still being recognized, notarized, celebrated and honored because of all the things that she gave to the Halifax — Roanoke Valley.” When asked what she thought of the ceremony, Smith said this was the first time she had attended a GBDF event. “It’s nice to come out and do something and engage with people and listen to great music,” she said. “It’s great to be amongst people who are making a difference in the valley.”

Previous GBDF board members were recognized during the event including Audrey Hardy (Roanoke Rapids, NC), Lois Deloatch (Durham, NC), Kermit Waddell, Esq. (Charlotte, NC), Ervin Griffin Sr. (Roanoke Rapids, NC), Margo Hall (Silver Spring, MD), Carrie Elizabeth Vick (Abingdon, MD), Tavari Taylor Brown (Atlanta, GA) and Micheline McGahee (Atlanta, GA). A certificate of recognition was awarded posthumously to past board member Duane Wade, accepted by his life partner, Wes Fortner of Birmingham, Alabama. He died in 2016, Fortner said. “He was one of the first board members of the GBDF, and he was my partner,” Fortner said. “He was very much a supporter of this program. I’m honored to be here for him, or with him. He’s still with me here in spirit.”

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