The Jefferson Awards for Public Service looks for local unsung heroes who make the world a better place through volunteering and community service. Known as the “Nobel Prize for Public Service,” the awards recognize ordinary people who do extraordinary things. RTV6 presents the Jefferson Awards to local volunteers and paid professionals, who go well beyond their expected duties and positively impact our communities.
INDIANAPOLIS — Deandra Dycus knows first-hand what effect gun violence can have on a person and a family, and she uses that experience to give her pain a purpose — helping others.
In 2014, someone fired gunshots into a home where friends were gathered for a party. Deandra’s son, Dre, was shot in the head. Dre, a former football player and honor roll student, suffered 8 strokes and is now a quadriplegic.
In her son’s honor, Deandra created the group “Purpose 4 my Pain” to offer support to other victims and survivors of gun violence.
The group holds events, like annual 5 on 5 basketball tournaments, to pay for various programs like meals for families.
They also hold monthly support meetings and members volunteer to walk side by side with other parents as they face their child’s shooter in the courtroom.
"They call me Hero. I never set out to be a hero," Deandra said. "Dre is my hero. These mothers who decide to get back up after their kids have been murdered are my heroes. For them to look at me for strength, the way that they do is incredible. I can't give up.”
Her efforts have earned her Crime Fighter of the Year from the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office and in her spare time, she visits schools pleading with kids to stay away from guns.
"I can't save them all I can't but that will stop me from doing what I do," she said.
It also earned her the December Jefferson Award from RTV6.
Watch the video above to see RTV6’s Rafael Sanchez surprise Deandra and share her and Dre’s story.