Interfaith Sanctuary hopes recent death will encourage vaccination

Interfaith Sanctuary
Posted at 4:40 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-08 11:51:26-04

BOISE, Idaho — As the pandemic continues to get worse in Idaho, Interfaith Sanctuary is mourning the loss of one of their own and working to get everyone who walks through their door vaccinated.

Debi Davis was hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine but eventually decided to book an appointment. Just a day before that appointment, she tested positive for COVID-19.

Debi Davis

The executive director of Interfaith Sanctuary, Jodi Peterson-Stigers said Debi got very sick very quickly and after a few weeks in the hospital, passed away.

"She was tough so I just kind of thought that it would be no big deal and then that's just the way--that's just the way it goes sometimes I guess," Interfaith Sanctuary guest, Chris Alvarez said.

People who knew Debi said she was everyone's mama bear, giving advice about starting a new job or telling a funny story to make everyone laugh.

"She was immediately just very welcoming," Alvarez said.

"She was always very positive, she laughed a lot," Interfaith Sanctuary guest, Sarah Beckham said.

"She would never, ever, ever let anyone be bullied or attacked or feel bad about themselves," Interfaith Sanctuary Director of Case Management, Maranda Jey said.

Peterson-Stigers said Debi was hearing a lot of misinformation that delayed her decision to get vaccinated. She says she knows Debi wished she could change her timeline.

They're hoping Debi's story will change things for someone else.

"We want her loss to matter. And so that's why we wrote the story and we're trying to encourage more people to get vaccinated. That you may have gotten some scary information but at the end of the day it will save your life and it could save someone else's life too," Peterson-Stigers said.

Roughly 67% of the guests at Interfaith are vaccinated. They also work to get any new people coming in vaccinated as soon as possible.

Peterson-Stigers said it's the guests who are encouraging each other to get vaccinated, "I think Debi was a hard lesson so I think the push is even harder now."

The City of Boise also extended its deal with the Red Lion Hotel, which provides more than 40 rooms for Boise residents without homes who contract COVID-19.