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STEPHEN HEMELT — Port Arthur’s Capt. Davis epitomizes Hometown Hero service

This weekend, Port Arthur Newsmedia is publishing stories dedicated to our hometown heroes making an impact in Port Arthur, Mid County and across the state.

These spotlights are a joy to work on for local readers and are made possible through the special participation of area sponsors that created the extra space for these spotlights.

Advertisements for their goods and services are included across our weekend newspaper pages and throughout panews.com, and we humbly ask you consider these businesses in the future.

Efforts like Hometown Heroes force us to pause from the grind of current events reporting and focus on the human factor, making sure we shine a spotlight on the many good things and people in our community.

It also gives us a chance to think about which one of our former neighbors might be making a positive impact away from home.

So let me take a moment to mention Greg Davis, a Port Arthur native who hit my radar via a May news release from the U.S. military announcing his leadership of the Louisiana National Guard’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Iraq.

That’s a lot of responsibility and a heck of a testament to the belief in Captain Davis’ abilities.

That wouldn’t surprise his friends and family, who know him as a 2009 graduate of Memorial High School, where he commanded the school’s first NJROTC program.

In the weeks following his command announcement, I have enjoyed the pleasure of emailing back and forth with him about a magazine feature spotlighting his service that will publish next month.

However, in advance of that publication of Greater Port Arthur Magazine, I wanted to share some of what we discussed over email and how that clearly applies to Davis being a Hometown Hero.

When I asked how his real-life experience of military service matched his expectations when he considered them in high school, Davis said they were “95 percent dead on!”

He joked about having a lot of preconceived notions of what the military was from movies and TV shows, but said the biggest thing that attracted him to service is a passion to help others.

“The Army wasn’t actually my first choice of branch, but I remember they had these ads that would show soldiers responding to a flood and saving people from helicopters and LMTVs,” Davis said. “I would say, ‘man, I want to do that.’ Then Hurricane Harvey hit and I found myself in an LMTV (light medium tactical vehicle) riding down a flooded Gulfway Boulevard picking people up and assisting the PAFD. That was what I joined for. That has been the proudest moment in my career.”

Today, Davis is part of a team enabling the U.S.’s Iraqi partners to defeat Daesh and the remnants of ISIS throughout the Middle East.

“The locals that we interact here with on a daily basis are some of the nicest and grateful people that you could meet,” Davis told me.

We enjoy sharing stories like those of Captain Gregory Davis Jr. and the many more making an impact in our own neighborhoods.

Port Arthur and Mid County offer so many opportunities for positive feedback; sometimes we just have to make sure we’re taking time to hear it.

Stephen Hemelt is the president of Port Arthur Newsmedia, which publishes The Port Arthur News, panews.com and Greater Port Arthur The Magazine. He can be reached at stephen.hemelt@panews.com or 409-721-2445.