Tribute to Darryl Davis, Foster Parent

07 February 2019
Posted in the Bennington Banner Thursday, February 7, 2019 7:51 am

Our opinion: An open heart makes a difference


It's a rough world out there. Open the newspaper, and the headlines are full of warnings and trouble: The threat of climate change to all life on this planet, the re-escalation of Cold War nuclear tensions, war-spawned catastrophes in Yemen and Syria, a brewing Constitutional crisis — it can all pile up quickly and make you feel helpless and small.

What difference can one person make against such odds?

A huge difference, actually.

Consider this: In her time as a foster parent, Darryl Davis, who died last week at the age of 58 in a two-car accident in Londonderry, opened her Sunderland home, and her heart, to 42 foster children.

On Monday afternoon, Davis' family and friends gathered at the Federated Church of East Arlington and remembered her selfless service to the most vulnerable people in our community — children who needed love, safety and a sense of belonging in a time of crisis and uncertainty.

"She saved my life," one of her foster children, now living in Utah, said in a letter read aloud at Davis' memorial service. "Mama D was the mother I never had."

If her love and care for children in their time of need was the sum total of her contributions to our community, that would be more than enough. But it wasn't. She and her late husband Rod Davis were the parents of four children of their own. She was a caring and generous friend to many, at the West Mountain Inn in Arlington, at the Curves gym in Manchester, and at her jobs at Bayada Home Health and Talbots. And she worked to help others through the Northshire Interfaith Council.

Even her own tragedy — the deaths of her husband and a foster child in a 2009 car accident that left her badly injured — didn't stop Davis from opening her home to children in need of love and care.

"Many people would probably stop [fostering] after such a tragedy," said the Rev. Kathy Clark, pastor of the Federated Church of East Arlington. "She knew that there were still children that needed her, and she had the space in her home and the space in her heart, and she offered it generously."

How do we best honor such a woman? One way might be to consider becoming a foster parent yourself. There are still many children who could use a safe harbor, a place where they can know they are safe, secure and loved. The opiate epidemic has only heightened such need.

Those who are interested in becoming foster parents can start by visiting https://dcf.vermont.gov/foster or by calling the state Family Services Division's Bennington office at 802-442-8138.