101-year-old grocery store worker had grant named in her honor

Winn-Dixie's Romay Davis Belonging, Inclusion and Diversity Grant Program lets nonprofits apply while they address disparities.

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Romay Davis may just be the country’s oldest “essential worker.” The 101-year-old woman is still working at Winn-Dixie in Montgomery, Alabama, and according to reports, she even still drives herself to work every day. 

Last week, before the end of Black History Month, Winn Dixie stores named a grant in her honor. 

Winn-Dixie staffer Romay Davis may just be the country’s oldest “essential worker.” The 101-year-old woman is still driving herself to work at the store in Montgomery, Alabama. (ABC)

The Romay Davis Belonging, Inclusion and Diversity Grant Program will allow nonprofits to apply for financial support as they address racial disparities in education, food insecurity and health care. 

“As we celebrate Ms. Romay, we are moved by her unwavering dedication and strong work ethic, which inspires others to be their best,” Anthony Hucker, president and chief executive officer of Southeastern Grocers, the parent company of Winn-Dixie, said last week. 

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In an Instagram post last year, Winn-Dixie shared a photo of fans cheering Davis as she exited a limousine. The caption read: “Today we got to celebrate our beloved associate of almost 20 years, Romay Davis’s 100th Birthday! She’s a WWII Veteran, NYU alum, Tae Kwon Do Black Belt and so much more. Romay inspires us all to live life to the fullest and make every day a #RomayDavisDay!” 

Davis has indeed had an extraordinary life over her 101 years. She served as part of the first all-Black Woman Army Corps unit deployed overseas in the second World War. Davis then went on to a lengthy career as a model and fashion designer in New York. 

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She says she’s excited about the grant and hopes it will make a difference in the lives of many. 

“I had several experiences, some of them were detrimental — painful — and I wondered why,” said Davis. “But I learned it was the other person, not me.”

The centenarian told Good Morning America that segregation taught her self-reliance.

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“During the time when people didn’t like us because we were Black,” she said, “I used to not want to be around [others]. I wanted to be by myself.” 

Davis says she continues to work at Winn-Dixie because she enjoys keeping busy.

“The only time I’m not busy,” she said, “I’m sick or asleep.” 

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