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Editor’s note: Greater Union Life Center in DeLand is sponsoring Black History Month 2021 banners honoring 16 individuals who have made a positive impact on the city of DeLand, and Volusia County. The banners have been installed along Woodland Boulevard in Downtown DeLand, and The Beacon is compiling profiles of the individuals.

Mario Davis — community advocate and executive director of Greater Union Life Center

Born and raised in DeLand, Mario Davis has been involved in numerous political campaigns and community organizations.

Serving as a campaign manager and campaign lead consultant, Davis worked on political campaigns for notable Volusia County residents like County Council Member Barb Girtman, former Volusia County School Board Member Ida Wright and DeLand City Commissioner (and Mario’s wife) Jessica Davis.

“The goal has always been to make sure we have the best political representation; the people who are going to bring the resources to the community who need it most,” Mario Davis said. “My total mission for all of this is that these underserved communities, like Spring Hill, receive what they’re entitled to, just like every other community receives.”

In addition to working in politics, Davis has served on the DeLand Economic Development Committee and the Team Volusia board. He also owns DuPont Financial Services, an accounting firm that provides services for a number of majority-Black churches and nonprofits.

Davis is an active member of Greater Union First Baptist Church, the congregation he grew up in. He now has come full circle, serving as the executive director of the church’s Greater Union Life Center, which also helps manage the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations in DeLand.

Davis said he was flattered that the banner committee selected him as one of the Black History Month honorees, even if he believed others were more deserving.

“I was a part of starting this committee, because I wanted to highlight a lot of those community pillars who helped me get where I am today. It was never intended for me to be one of those honorees,” he said. “I recommended other names, but they still chose me.”

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