“I believe everybody placed on this earth has a purpose, and each and every day you should be striving to fulfill that unique purpose. For me, that’s giving back until I have nothing left to give.”
Dawna is a lifelong native of McDowell County. She is a graduate of McDowell High, has an associate’s degree in office systems from McDowell Technical Community College, is an Ann Johnson Institute for Senior Center Management and Rural Economic Development Institute graduate and recently completed the Lenoir Rhyne Diversity Equity and Inclusion Certificate Program.
Dawna is a community advocate who is passionate about community change, which drives her to serve her community by providing support, facilitation and education on the services and resources available to make those changes. She has a strong belief that everyone deserves the right to have the necessities of life, regardless of their race, age, gender, class or disability. Dawna was employed for the past 16 years as the Community Outreach Coordinator at McDowell Senior Center, and in that role, she coordinated in-home services for the homebound and provided counseling for Medicare recipients.
She is currently employed as the Director of Equity for West Marion Community Forum Inc. She also volunteers, wearing many hats. She is currently serving or has served as board chair for West Marion Community Forum Inc., McDowell Chamber of Commerce and McDowell Transit. Dawna also serves on the McDowell Chamber Ambassadors, McDowell Substance Use Workgroup Leadership Team, Community Engagement Project Steering Committee and the City of Marion Planning Board. She has received several honors and recognitions, including MTCC Distinguished Alumni, Duke Energy Citizenship Award, MLK Spirit Award, McDowell Health Coalition Volunteer of the Year and Citizen of the Month. Dawna is an outspoken advocate for social justice and living organ donation. Her mission in life is to leave a legacy and a better future for present and future generations.