Michael Davis knows what it means to serve. The 58-year-old San Diego resident is retired from the U.S. Navy and works in civil engineering and cyber security at SPAWAR, but he really wanted to help make his own neighborhood into a more caring, vibrant community. So he formed HEROES – Hometown Efforts to Save Our Endangered Species. “Our motto is charity and good will, pass it on, pay it forward,” said Davis, “No matter what the need or who the need comes from, we just jump in and do it.”

Community spirit is one of the reasons Davis loves living in North San Diego. He noted that it is a diverse area with people who are willing to make it a community rather than just a place on the map.

Having lived in the Mira Mesa area since 1986, Davis saw the need for a community outreach organization to facilitate bringing together volunteers and coordinate overarching community improvement. From the growth of this simple idea, HEROES became a formal non-profit organization in 2005. It has now has grown into Scripps Ranch, Rancho Penasquitos and Carmel Valley areas.

All support for HEROES is voluntary, and people who are interested in helping out generally find out what needs to be done via the group’s website and emails. “No special skills are needed,” he said. “We put everyone to work at meaningful tasks, then make the event fun, all while helping a worthy cause.”

One recent project was painting Fire Station 41 in Sorrento Valley. It was a huge endeavor, but HEROES garnered wide support from other groups and organizations to give the facility a facelift.

HEROES generally completes four to six projects a year, with scheduling that is request-driven. Activities may include clean up, painting, and other “fix it” tasks. Coming soon are a school beautification day and a park clean up. “Folks should just get out and do something for others,” said Davis. “It does not matter what the effort is or for whom. Have a passion and volunteer for your cause, as it makes them and you feel good, and it attracts the sort of people you might want to be friends with too!”