By Charlotte Bowers
Habitat for Humanity of Anderson County has been blessed with incredible volunteers. Last year, we decided that we would like to recognize individual volunteers each month. Our community retailers and restaurants have been very generous in donating gift certificates and other items to reward our special monthly volunteers. Oak Ridge Floral, located in Grove Center, donated bouquets of flowers. Terry Stansberry, owner of Terry Tags, made a beautiful plaque. Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, The Soup Kitchen, Red Lobster, Krystal, and IHOP all donated gift certificates for these special volunteers.
The Volunteer of the Month for April was Mary McKeethan. Mary has been volunteering her time in the ReStore since 2010. Her warm smile and friendly attitude make her a favorite of our customers. After Mary retired from the Jackson Square Pharmacy, she decided she wanted to do something for the community. Liz Vane, former family services coordinator at Habitat for Humanity of Anderson County, told her about Habitat. She decided that working at the ReStore would be a fun way to serve because she likes people. Working in retail made her realize she loved interacting with the public. She also loves working with children. After substitute teaching for many years and teaching Sunday School at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Oak Ridge, she now volunteers with the after-school program at Willow Brook Elementary School.
The Volunteer of the Month for May was Jim Bailey. Jim spent his working career as an engineer and in management at the local U.S. Department of Energy sites. In the 1990s, he volunteered on a couple of Habitat builds in Anderson County as well as a couple of builds in Knoxville alongside members of his church. He also participated in a Blitz Build off Rutledge Pike where 26 Habitat houses were built in one week! The teamwork and coordination it took to pull off this feat really impressed him. After retiring in 2006, Jim decided to join the Wednesday weekday construction crew at HFHAC. He was pleasantly surprised to find that he knew several other men there either from his church or from work. Jim enjoys the fellowship and work, teaching and learning, assisting and being helped. “Where else can you meet new people and do good work with good people for people in need?” he said.
The Volunteer for the Month for June was Nancy Richards. Nan starting volunteering in the ReStore, but when the administrative office at HFHAC asked her to use her skills helping in the office, she graciously agreed. Nan’s flexibility has made her an invaluable asset. Nan retired from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where she worked as a health physics technician for 11 years. She substitute teaches in the Oak Ridge and Clinton school systems and volunteers at the St. Joseph Food Pantry where she attends church, St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Oak Ridge. In talking about volunteering at HFHAC, she said, “The staff is upbeat, friendly, and appreciative of everything I do, and the other volunteers are a joy to work with.”
Last November’s Volunteer of the Month, Cal Knoke, honored HFHAC with a very large donation. At 90 years of age, Cal still volunteers two days a week. He said he and his family wanted to help fund the next build in Andersonville. With this wonderful donation, we can now begin!
Please call Charlotte Bowers to get more information on donating or volunteering at HFHAC. To get more information on becoming a Habitat home owner or getting assistance with home repairs, please call Donna Mosby at (865) 482-7713. To arrange to have a donation to the ReStore picked up from your home or business, please call (865) 483-5433. The website is under construction. See the new hfhac.org coming very soon!
Charlotte Bowers is executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Anderson County.