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Physicians for Peace to Honor Morgan Davis

October 19, 2012

Reported in: Inside Business
By: Bill Cresenzo

Photo by: Bill Cresenzo

It's a long way from the 4,000-square-foot veranda on the roof of TowneBank near the Oceanfront and its sweeping views of Virginia Beach, to the slums and ghettos of the Dominican Republic.

But both places are important symbols in the life of J. Morgan Davis, the president of TowneBank.

In 2005, Davis traveled to the Dominican Republic as part of the Physicians for Peace contingent, teaching poor teens about pregnancy prevention and pre- and neo-natal care.

"If you think you are having a tough time here, all you have to do is go to that country," he said. "Your worst day is better than their best day."

Each year, Davis hosts a popular party and fundraiser at the top of TowneBank at 600 22nd St. in Virginia Beach that has raised more than $100,000 for Physicians for Peace, the Norfolk nonprofit made up of physicians who travel the world teaching medical staff in poor countries how to perform more sophisticated medical procedures.

On Saturday, Davis will receive the Physicians for Peace President's award, to recognize his volunteer efforts with the group, at a dinner at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel.

"There are people who really make things happen and Morgan has been one of those people," said Ron Sconyers, president and CEO of Physicians for Peace.

"Not just for Physicians for Peace but the whole community. He doesn't sit back and watch things. He walks the walk. He lives the mission. He sacrifices his own time for the betterment of our mission. He is passionate about who we are and uses his station at the bank and in the community to expand the understanding of Physicians for Peace in the community.

"With his sense of humor, his sense of passion, his sense of commitment, he doesn't take life seriously, but he takes it seriously where it needs to be taken, and he always does it with energy and humor."

Norfolk-based Physicians for Peace was founded in 1989 and its motto is, "Send one. Train many. Heal the world."

One of its most recent projects was a mission trip to El Salvador to instruct health care professionals in advanced burn care techniques.

"We are focused on addressing the problem of limited access to health care and health workers," said Rachel Bryant, Physicians for Peace spokeswoman.

"This limitation excludes men, women and children from basic educational and professional opportunities and debilitates communities. Without good health, people cannot move themselves and their families out of poverty. "

Bryant said that while relief organizations focus on hunger and other crises, Physicians for Peace focuses on education.

"There is a profound need for health care education and training that Physicians for Peace can provide," she said.

"We send teams of volunteers - including physicians, dentists, nurses, physical therapists, physician assistants and other health care professionals - to places where their teaching and healing skills are needed most. In doing so, we are helping to build healthier communities and laying the foundation for long-term solutions to complex problems."

Davis became a member of the group's board of directors after he was approached by Dr. Juan Montero, a Norfolk surgeon who also sat on TowneBank's board. The nonprofit's board was made up of physicians, and members wanted to diversify by inviting businesspeople to the table, Davis said.

"Morgan is a great friend and someone we have been very fortunate to have," said Buzz Heidt, past chairman of the Physicians for Peace board. "Morgan is the kind of person who takes on responsibilities and becomes a real asset to any organization. He's brought commitment and he's brought leadership to Physicians for Peace." nib

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