Hometown Hero: NYC Correction Officer aims to help global family – New York Daily News

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It began with another mother’s tears.
“I saw a mother crying on TV,” said Correction Officer Jessica Davis, founder and head of the New York City Department of Correction Disaster Relief Association.
The mom was cuddling her brain-damaged baby, a casualty of the ongoing contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich.
“It tore my heart to pieces,” Davis said. “I just couldn’t sit back and do nothing. I couldn’t just let it happen.”
Correction Officer Jessica Davis started the New York City Department of Correction Disaster Relief Association. (Jeff Bachner/for New York Daily News)
Spending 14 of her 16 years with the Correction Department patrolling New York City’s toughest environs — those inside Rikers Island — wasn’t enough service for Davis.
“I created the organization inside my home because I wanted to deal with the Flint, Mich., water crisis,” Davis said. “So, I gathered my correction officer friends.”
And she harnessed the might of the internet.
“I did a challenge over social media,” she explained. “If you donate a case [of bottled water], challenge someone to match it.”
“At the end, we had a tractor trailer,” the single mom from Queens recalled. “We filled a tractor trailer full of water, diapers and Similac. That and two full vans. We went to Flint three times.”
“That was the start of something amazing,” Davis said.
The organization she kick-started in her living room in 2016 has provided disaster relief for earthquake- and hurricane-struck communities in Haiti, Puerto Rico, Louisiana, Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
What started as a circle of concerned colleagues has become a force for good involving over 75 uniformed and nonuniformed law enforcement officers across five boroughs, she said.
“We host baseball games, basketball tournaments, other events, but it’s all law enforcement,” Davis said. “It all comes out of our paychecks.”
Their mission isn’t limited to supply distribution. Joining with renowned international disaster relief organization All Hands and Hearts, Davis and her colleagues partnered with skilled carpenters, electricians and plumbers to help resurrect battered communities.
“We rebuilt a school in Haiti,” she said. “We rebuilt seven homes in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Overall, we have rebuilt about 45 homes in Florida, Louisiana and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”
Correction Officer Jessica Davis outside her Queens home on Wednesday, March 23, 2022. (Jeff Bachner/for New York Daily News)
Meanwhile, Davis and Co. have never left New Yorkers behind.
Their disaster relief has included providing food, coats and care packages for the homeless. They hold an annual Mother’s Day self-love event, a walk for women and other events focusing on issues ranging from breast cancer to domestic violence.
“During the worst of COVID-19 we helped feed nurses and doctors at hospitals in Brooklyn,” she said. “We went from facility to facility feeding correction officers hot meals.”
Her members cite Davis’ leadership and commitment as the reason why she has been nominated for a Daily News Hometown Heroes award in the First Responder category.
“Jessica goes far beyond the call of duty when it comes to giving back,” said retired warden Rich Palmer. “She personally calls all our members every Wednesday.”
“Jessica’s drive makes our events successful,” Palmer explained. “She works a 16-hour day and doesn’t miss a beat.”
For Davis it’s more than a mission, it’s about family.
“We’re one big family with a common goal,” Davis said. “Sharing what we have so people don’t have to go without.”
“There’s so much more to do, ” she added. “We’re just getting started.”
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Do you know a Hometown Hero? Every Monday, the Daily News will run a weekly feature in print and online profiling a Hometown Hero in several categories — first responders (police officers, firefighters, EMTs), health care workers, transit workers, educators and extraordinary everyday citizens — nominated by our readers.
For more information on how to nominate someone for a Daily News Hometown Heroes award, go to nydailynews.com/new-york/hometown-heroes.
Copyright © 2022, New York Daily News
Copyright © 2022, New York Daily News

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