Black History Month was celebrated all month long during February as a time to remember famous African Americans who have made important contributions to our country. But it’s not just about people in the past, many important things are happening right now.
Locally, Kathy Davis LPN, owner/operator of Davis Home LLC on Avondale Drive, Altavista, is making her mark in a quest to be a motivational example to others.
"I want to be a great role model to my children and to others,” she said on Thursday. “I think it’s great that we are seeing so many new businesses starting up under African American ownership. “So many people have talents and dreams, but never step out to pursue them because of fear, whether it be financial or thinking it won’t be a success. That was my case for years, but you have to step out on faith and that’s what I did and my business is doing very well.”
Davis Home is located in her parents’ former home. Her father, John E. Pannell and mother, Katie Pannell, set fine examples of entrepreneurship. “Daddy ran one business, Pannell & Sons Janitorial Service for 40 years, and also had Pannell Cargo Transport Service. He was a great role model for me!!”
Since opening Davis Home in 2017, she has done well and is taking steps to expand her facility. She is a member of the Altavista Area Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Board of Directors. Davis makes it a point to try to attend all ribbon cuttings. “I think it’s important to support each other because it’s not easy starting a business.”
She is participating in the Altavista Elementary School Career Day where she will speak on being successful in trade and making a career out of it. “Earning a college degree is very important, but not everyone is cut out for college. Some people who are good at a particular trade do very well for themselves and become great entrepreneurs.”
Davis Home won “New Business of the Year” at last year’s 3 Into 1 community project awards ceremony. She looks forward to joining the Big Brother, Big Sister program.
She also is planning on working with Altavista Police Chief Tommy Merricks in fundraising “I’m excited and really looking forward to helping the town in any way that I can,” she says.
As an African American, she often ponders race relations in America, “I realize that this has always been an issue. I also feel that a lot of people are stereotyped and not given a chance, so it’s up to the individual to stand up for themselves and make a difference. It doesn’t matter what color you are. My pastor often says ‘you are somebody.’ I express to my daughters all the time that you can be whatever you want to be. We shouldn’t be looking at the outer appearance of others. Color doesn’t matter. We as people should learn to love more.”
When pondering the way things have changed in America, she points out that when she was growing up, “My mother and the older mothers in church taught me how to conduct myself properly and act like a lady. Children today are not made to go to church. When I was growing up, you really had no choice and you were disciplined by not only your parents, but by anyone you were around. It is an important part of growing up that may not always happen with today’s youth who are often bombarded with social media and video games.”
She concludes, “Having high expectations of myself and the community at large is important to me. I have that mindset to have high expectations. That’s how you achieve…by setting the bar high for yourself and continually striving to reach your goals.”
One of Davis’ own role models is the great poet/author Maya Angelo who made a lasting impact on society with great sayings such as “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” and “If you’re always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.”