How Henrico retiree is helping the most vulnerable: ‘Speak up for them’

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A Henrico man has dedicated his life to fighting injustice by helping the most vulnerable members of society live a more normal life.

David Kovacs volunteers with CASA or Court Appointed Special Advocates, a non-profit that helps abused or neglected children live a more normal life.

While many retirees slow down, the former city planner's motor rarely stops revving.

“My driving force is that I have a skill set that can help children,” Kovacs said.  “It's not like adrenaline and I really like this. It's just something that needs to get done."

The 75-year-old has been volunteering with the group for 22 years. During that time the married father of one has helped more than 70 boys and girls live safe and more productive lives.

“They’re going through a time which they need someone to speak up for them and someone to listen to them and someone to speak up for them,” Kovacs explained.

Kovacs has devoted more than 3,300 hours of his own time to CASA and often travels to different parts of the state out of his own pocket.

“I have to be strong for the child,” Kovacs said.

It is a small sacrifice for this pragmatist from Indiana with a big heart.

“When you’re dealing with injustice, you can’t get emotional," Kovacs said. "You just have to look at it square in the eye and say, 'I’m going to beat you.' Simple as that."

Henrico CASA Program Director Jeannine Panzera marvels at Kovacs' dedication and diligence, especially when dealing with the darker side of humanity.

“His work is unparalleled and frankly, it's priceless. That is pretty incredible to us,” Panzera said. “He has taken the time out of his life. And he has made sacrifices for that in order to ensure that these kids are in safe homes and in permanent homes.”

For Kovacs, sitting back when there are so many wrongs to right is not in his DNA.

“I want to make sure everyone has a fair shake and a fair deal,” Kovacs said. “That is it. That is what keeps me going. If there were no acts of injustice, I don’t know what I’d be doing.”

Even in his golden years, fighting for what’s right in his retirement is time well spent.

“When I get those calls -- or tap on the shoulder and I get a, ‘Do you remember me?'" he said. "Then I say, it's worth it. Simple as that.”

Click here for info about CASA’s annual Super Hero Run Saturday, May 4 at St. Joseph’s Villa in Henrico County.

Greg McQuade features local heroes in a weekly “Heroes Among Us” segment. Watch Greg’s reports Thursdays on CBS News at 6 or here on WTVR.com. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured on “Heroes Among Us,” click here to email heroes@wtvr.com.

Watch CBS 6 News at 6 p.m. Thursdays for Greg McQuade's "Heroes Among Us" reports. If you know of someone CBS 6 should feature, email heroes@wtvr.com

Watch CBS 6 News at 6 p.m. Thursdays for Greg McQuade's "Heroes Among Us" reports. If you know of someone CBS 6 should feature, email heroes@wtvr.com

Click here to view more "Heroes Among Us" reports.

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