Much discussion has long centered around angels and their existence. Some question whether they even exist, while others have no doubt. However, many believe true angels are simply human beings here on Earth who have fought for so many that have long since lost hope to fight for themselves. Although that type of person doesn’t come around very often, once they do the effect they can have on people is undeniable.
If that common belief is true, then Irene Davis, of Cawood, fits the mold as well as anyone could. She has spent much of her life helping others and providing guidance that no amount of money could ever buy.
At the age of 81, Davis teaches Sunday School at the Harlan Church of God in Sunshine. She said being able to teach and spread the word of God to the county’s youth is what keeps her going.
“I worry about young people because I know how hard it is when you are young and trying to maintain your Christianity. They need guidance and encouragement as much as possible. I consider myself really lucky to be able to teach young adults and let them know that they are loved by God,” she said.
In 1993, Davis formed a Christian ministry in which she began traveling to the Harlan County Detention Center on a regular basis speaking to women who were serving a jail sentence.
Harlan is not the only place she has visited. Her journeys have also taken her to a state prison in Mississippi to speak with prisoners. She has also been to many different states to attend jail conferences. She believes the prisoners who have made mistakes have to understand that there is still hope for them.
“I just want to give them a chance. I want them to know that people care about them and what happens to them. I get upset with a lot of them, and I just say, ‘what are you doing here?’ I tell them they need to be home with their families instead of in jail. I hope the things that I say to them get through because these people need someone to give them hope, and that’s what I try to give them,” she said.
Davis knows what a hard time is like as well as anyone. After losing both her son and husband in the past five years, she said it is only through the power of prayer and the overwhelming peace that God put in her heart that has allowed her to survive.
“Life will challenge you quite a bit. Hard times are always going to be around, but if you have that connection with God you will always be strong enough to overcome anything life throws at you,” Davis said.
Davis is the mother of four children — Sharon Smith, Dottie Brock, Ralph Davis and the late Dick Davis. Originally a native of Tennessee, she moved to Harlan County in 1961. She was married to the late Ralph Davis for 61 years. He traveled all over Harlan County for 45 years as door to door salesman, known to many as “blanketman.”
Davis is loved by many because of the many lives she has touched throughout her career in ministry. One of her former Sunday school students and close friend, Kim Howard, said Davis is someone that you can always depend on no matter what.
“She has always been a spiritual mother to me. She is just a wonderful woman who taught me how to live by faith. She has just helped so many people over the years,” Howard said.