Jefferson Award Winner: Devra Deems

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (WDTV) -- The Jefferson Award, presented by Antero Resources, highlights individuals who've spent countless hours dedicating their time to the community and others. September’s winner, Devra Deems, exemplifies just that.

Ms. Deems is the perfect example of a selfless role model for her community. As a retired school teacher, Ms. Deems now dedicates her time to public service.

“You look and find wherever there is a need, and wherever there is a need, you jump in and say 'Hey, I’ll help!' and you get involved,” she said.

Not only is she a volunteer tutor, but she is also an active volunteer with the Red Cross in Preston County. She is often first on the scene of a house fire and works to help support the victims.

Ms. Deems is also actively involved with water monitoring for the Cheat River, and participates in the grassroots effort of expanding the “Rails to Trails” section in Rowlesburg.

Her partner, an 11-year-old Labrador named “Jetty,” makes rounds at a nursing home as part of a pet therapy program. Jetty is also part of the “Library Pet Program,” helping kids learn to read.

Jetty is also a nationally registered air scent dog for search and rescue. She and Ms. Deems are part of the “Mountaineer Area Rescue Group,” and are often deployed when a member of the community is missing.

Ms. Deems’ service is not limited to daytime hours or sunny days, and her dedication has made a huge impact on the community.

“She practices what she preaches," said her friend and fellow volunteer, Mary Jo Hull. "She gets out there and really gets involved, and is a very positive influence on not only the community but her friends. She inspires me.”