By Kevin Kelley
The PTA, League of Women Voters and Fairview Park Junior Women’s Club are among the organizations the 2013 Citizen of the Year has volunteered with.
Helen Davis, a resident for 21 years, will be recognized by the Fairview Park Community Council with a dinner tonight at the city’s Senior Center, 20769 Lorain Road, just behind City Hall. A reception begins at 6:30 p.m., with the dinner, provided by Novotny Catering, served at 7. Tickets to the dinner cost $25 and can be purchased by calling Roberta Sunkle at 440-333-9339.
According to Judy Nicoloff, a former Citizen of the Year herself, Davis was selected due to the wide range of organizations she has worked for.
“It was impossible to not to say to her, ‘Hey, you deserve a round of applause,’” Nicoloff told West Life.
Helen Davis and her husband of 33 years, Tom, have two adult children, Tom Jr. and Matt.
Tom Davis is a former school board president and the current president of the Community Council. However, that had no impact on the selection of Helen as the 2013 honoree. The Citizen of the Year is selected by the past five honorees based on nominations. Nicoloff said Helen’s selection was unanimous. Four individuals were nominated, she said.
Davis told West Life she was surprised at the selection and had no idea she had even been nominated. When George Newman, the 2011 Citizen of the Year, dropped by her house to give her the good news, she thought he was joking.
Her earliest volunteer work centered around her children’s schools and athletic teams. She held several positions, including treasurer and president, of the PTA at Lewis Mayer Middle School and Fairview High School. She was involved in several school district levy campaigns and in the push for voters to fund the Gemini Project, which resulted in the construction of the city’s recreation center and Gilles-Sweet Elementary School.
In 2004, Davis launched the tradition of holding tailgate parties at Fairview High Warriors football games.
Raising money is one activity Davis said she enjoys. “Sometimes when you ask, it’s surprising, the generosity of groups or individuals,” she explained.
Fundraising is not always easy, she said. But it is gratifying to see money go to good causes, she said, as is the case with the Fairview Park Junior Women’s Club, which awards money for scholarships and other projects requested by community members.
“It’s always nice to have a lot of funds to give out,” she said.
Davis has been a member of the Junior Women’s Club since 1993, and has served as its president and is its current representative to Community Council.
Davis told West Life that she’s worked with many other talented, hardworking volunteers over the years. She concluded the interview by saying she hopes to see those individuals nominated for the Citizen of the Year honor in future years.