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Cathy Davis is getting a lot of attention for the behind-the-scenes work she does as a volunteer
Cathy Davis is a behind-the-scenes volunteer with various local agencies. She is one of 40 people across America honored as celebrities for volunteer efforts.
REZA MARVASHTI/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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By CATHY DYSON
A story in the Rappahannock United Way newsletter called Cathy Davis "a celebrity among us."
Davis is a volunteer who works behind the scenes with various nonprofit agencies. Recently, she was one of 40 volunteers from across the country recognized by Cabot Creamery Cooperative, Vermont farmers who make cheese.
Cabot, in partnership with the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, wants to promote the idea that volunteers are the real celebrities in communities like Fredericksburg.
In September, the creamery will give its honorees the red-carpet treatment during a cruise to Alaska.
Davis is thrilled. She and her husband, Ron, look forward to spending time with other like-minded volunteers and hearing their strategies and ideas.
But the attention that has come with the award has made Davis uncomfortable. She'd much rather be in the background than the forefront.
"I'm embarrassed about the publicity because that's not why I volunteer," Davis said.
Davis, 58, was reluctant to be interviewed--and agreed only after her husband convinced her that she might inspire someone else.
"That's what I really want to come out of this," stressed Davis, who lives in Spotsylvania County.
But a story about the consummate volunteer cannot be told without mentioning her accomplishments.
In the decade she's lived in the Fredericksburg area, she's been on the United Way board for nine years and served as chairman for two.
She came up with the idea to focus giving, not so much on individual groups, but on services offered. She led the effort to categorize help into three areas: education, income and health.
Davis also created the program that recognizes givers who donate more than $1,000 annually.
"I see her as a visionary," said Janel Donohue, president of the United Way. "She has a positive vision for how an agency can grow and be better and help more people."
Davis uses skills from the working world to help with her volunteering. She earned degrees in interior design and marketing from the University of Nebraska and worked in sales, management and marketing for two Fortune 500 companies for 20 years.
She stopped when she and her husband adopted their son, Nick, from Ukraine.
She thought she might go back to work when he graduated from high school. Instead, she devoted herself even more to work that didn't include a paycheck.