Her parents’ belief in the strength of historically black colleges and universities was passed on to DeCoux and her sister, both graduates of Central State University. She moved to Dayton shortly after earning a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from Kent State University and has been in the Miami Valley ever since.
She has been a member of Wayman Chapel AME Church in Dayton for just as long, where she is now president of the Wayman Civic Association. Through the group, she encourages voter registration, advocates for voter rights, and does good deeds for members of the congregation and community.
She also started a scholarship fund in her mother’s name — “She had the same spirit,” DeCoux said — and founded a nonprofit five years ago. Born to Serve donates funds to special causes and projects.
“There are so many needs, it’s just a drop in the ocean,” she said.
Additionally, DeCoux is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, which focuses on social justice, and she’s even a member of the homeowners association where she lives in Clayton.
Anna McGuire-Davis has known DeCoux for more than 50 years, since they were in college together at Central State. Now they are neighbors too.
“She has the heart of a servant,” said McGuire-Davis, who named her friend a community gem in the Dayton Daily News.
DeCoux sometimes sacrifices her own well-being in service to others, and she is dedicated to helping young people, her church, and “the people she meets along the way,” McGuire-Davis said.
Christianity doesn’t just mean going to church on Sunday for her friend – it’s reflected in her actions throughout the community. She is known for delivering vegetables to someone in need, saving and helping a friend in a nursing home, and helping others get the services they need. And beyond his community involvement, DeCoux also makes time for his friends, regularly sending notes and cards thinking of you.
“She has so much energy,” McGuire-Davis said. “She has this strong, strong passion to give back.”