Debra Dockery: 2018 Community Strong Person of the Year

Debra Dockery is a busy woman, yet while owning two businesses, Computer Bookkeeping and Tax Services and Curves, she still finds time to volunteer. She holds a deep passion for community devotion. Her mom inspired Debra through her own volunteer work with schools and delivering flowers to the hospital.

Debra has held the role of the treasurer for The Festival in the Park for a decade. She is a constant fixture during the festival to ensure visitors and vendors remain happy. Debra also volunteers at other annual festivals, the Danville Harvest Jubilee and Racin’ and Tastin’.

Debra also holds two big fundraisers a year at Curves. She collects food for God’s Storehouse. Each year, she donates over 1,000 pounds of goods to the organization. At Christmastime, Debra holds an auction to collect money to buy toys for the Salvation Army.

Debra opened up to Showcase about her desire to give back to the community she calls home.

SC: Why is community involvement so important to you? 

DD: I believe it takes all of us to make a difference.  You can’t complain about something not being right if you are not ready to get in and get your hands dirty. I love knowing I am making a difference.                                                                              

SC: What inspires you to volunteer?

I don’t think I know any other way.  I love serving people.  It is a great feeling when you know you are responsible for that smile on someone’s face. And other volunteers are such a joy to be around.

SC: How do you balance life, work, and community involvement? 

DD: I am a firm believer that you make time for what you want to do. Sometimes, I think I am the energizer bunny, but I have to be busy, it is just my personality. When you enjoy what you are doing, it makes it easy.

SC: What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you? 

DD: My dad told me as a little girl to make sure when you walk away from someone that you put a smile on their face, so I always try to do that. A frown puts wrinkles on your face, and a smile just makes you feel good.

SC: Who are your real-life heroes and why?

DD: My parents and my grandmother always taught me to love others with Christ-like love.  It was important for them to be proud of me, so I have always tried to be like them.  My mother volunteered at schools and the hospital until she was in her 80s, so I have about 20 more years to be like her. My mom will always be my hero.

SC: What is it about Danville that makes it special to you?

DD: It is my home town.  It is where I was born, went to school, and went to church.  It is just a part of me. It’s a small town, and each person has a role to fill.  I am happy I can surround myself with people who care about other people.

SC: Do you have a favorite quote, and if so, what is it? 

DD: “It is what it is.”

SC: How do you recharge. What do you like to do outside of work and volunteerism?

DD: I am very active at Dan River Church and that feeds my soul.  Happiness comes from inside.  I also workout four days a week at Curves and walk on the trail when I can. That keeps me healthy and sane. The ladies at Curves are so friendly I always come away with a smile.

SC: What is your idea of happiness? 

DD: Wow. The dictionary says it is contentment, delight or joy. I am happy when I am with my family and friends and we are enjoying each other’s company.  I am happy when others around me are happy. 

SC: What are your favorite things to do in Danville? 

DD: Going to the Carrington and Community Market hearing concerts and dancing.  Festival in the Park and Racin’ and Tastin’ are always fun with the music.  I love music and dancing!

SC: What are you most looking forward to in 2019?

DD: 2018 has been a devastating year for a lot of people with the storms. But we can be proud so many pulled together during this time.  My prayer for the rest of 2018 and 2019 is to see more love and understanding for one another.

SC: What are your visions for the future of Danville?

More festival-like activities on the Riverfront and in the Park.  More restaurants with music in the downtown area. More dog friendly restaurants.