JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS
The track is empty except for one man, making his way around. The faint sounds of the cars passing by are broken by the steady sounds of his running shoes hitting against the track with every step he takes. He wipes away the beads of sweat that have formed on his forehead. Settling into his pace, he can see the hard work paying off, even though his eyes can’t fully capture the world around him.
The life of Michael Davis, Air Combat Command contract specialist, has been shaped by events that have left him legally blind since a very young age. Before he was born, his mother was in a serious car accident in New York that totaled her car and caused her to lose amniotic fluid.
By the time Davis was five months old, he was already having cataract surgery which left him with congenital glaucoma. Now at 34 years old, he has had over 23 different surgeries.
However, Davis does not want people to see him as merely a legally blind man.
“Many times, they don’t understand that blind people are able to contribute valuable things too--blind people and deaf people across the board,” said Davis. “We all have our own strengths and that’s how I look at it.”
Ever since a young age, those who have come across Davis seem to have seen his value based upon his weaknesses, even though he is capable of so much more.
“When I was in school, even for projects, I was not picked to work with other kids. They didn’t want to work with me because of my disability,” said Davis. “Now, I get to make sure people with disabilities are included in races and if I can lend them my legs and my heart, that’s what I am going to do.”
Now for some of Davis’ races, he helps push the wheelchairs of individuals who have disabilities that prevent them from running the race themselves.
Davis has been able to run in numerous marathons over the course of his life through the help of a guide runner. A guide runner stays by Davis’ side while giving him verbal directions throughout the various races Davis participates in.
Davis has earned a reputation for running marathons, even receiving an invitation to the prestigious Boston Marathon. It was not just any year he ran this race however. Davis ran in 2013, when two homemade bombs were detonated near the finish line of the marathon.
“I was about half a mile away and that was my first Boston [Marathon], and then security said the race was over,” said Davis. “It was a good thing that I stopped because I was supposed to finish when the bombs went off.”
Thankfully, Davis was able to leave the event unscathed.
Running has helped Davis to realize many things in his life. With his job as a contracting specialist, he says it’s very similar to running a marathon.
“It’s more of a marathon, you’ve got to go at your own pace and solve problems in your own time,” said Davis. “Sometimes, especially with legal, you can’t rush things. If you want to do it the right way, you have to have some thoroughness to it.”
Davis said he could attribute thoroughness to many of his accomplishments. Davis has battled through his disability to become a man who says he has found a loving wife. He is an avid marathon runner. Has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and is working to obtain a master’s degree in business administration. A member of the Blind Lion’s Club and the National Federation of the Blind, all while working as a contracting specialist who helps to maintain million-dollar programs across the country and in Europe.
Davis has a lot of accomplishments to list on his resume and believes in not allowing others, or his disability, define who or what he can achieve.
“I just try to tell people to look past the front page because there’s always more to someone’s story than that,” said Davis. “Nothing can define who you are except the choices you make and the kind of person that you are.”
Davis says he is looking forward to the future, especially receiving his master’s degree in 2021 from William and Mary. After his federal career, he wants to get involved in Disability Services and help other disabled individuals get opportunities because people are more than their disabilities.