Everyday Hero: How local pastor exemplifies role model for area youth

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — “I’m probable one of the most reluctant pastors you will ever meet. God had to drag me kicking and screaming,” Pastor Damon Hamby.

For Damon Hamby, becoming a pastor was something he never planned on being when he was younger. Growing up, Hamby’s lifestyle did not reflect the life of a future pastor.

“I spent a period of time where I sold drugs. I did a lot drinking, a lot of smoking, a lot of partying,” Hamby said. “I went to Marshall University out of high school and after three semesters I flunked out with a 1.6 GPA.”

After finding the book Think and Grow Rich, Hamby said his way of life changed for the better and left the bad in the past. Hamby returned to school and graduated with a master’s degree and went on to teach at Mountain State University where he started finding God.

“God raised me up and gave me that calling. One of those things that gives me conviction that I know I am where I’m supposed to be is that I never would have chosen it for myself,” Hamby said. “I like to play the background. But when I was given the opportunity to serve, I answered the call because I understand the needs in the community, the needs of the church, the needs of the world. I wanted to plug myself in and do whatever I can.”

During the summer of 2020, Hamby was in the community of Beckley, making sure all voices were heard. Having no strong male role models growing up, Hamby said he wants to be that for the youth in community.

“I’ll ensure that young men and women of this generation who may have a similar background as me they will have someone they can look to and someone they can learn manhood from,” Hamby said.

Inspiring the future leaders on age group at a time.

“He taught us to love the Lord and love your family,” Zion Hughes, youth at Mt. Vernon, said.

“He’s a very loving, caring person. He will pray for anybody. Like Zion said he’s always about positivity,” Micah Hamby, Damon’s son, said.

“He’s really nice, he’s like a father figure to me. I love him very much. He’s very kind,” Isaish Thomas, high schooler, said.

“He’s very wise, I think of him as a father figure too. He’s been there for me too,” Myah Phillips, high schooler, said.

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