Posted Saturday, June 8, 2019 8:57 pm
By COLBY DENTON
Cleveland’s leaders and celebrities came out together to help build a home during Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland’s Leaders’ Build on Thursday, May 30.
The day marks Habitat’s first Leaders’ Build. In addition to the leaders, numerous sponsors included the Leaders’ Build Foundation sponsors, Leaders’ Build Framing sponsors and Leaders’ Build Tool Belt sponsors.
Leaders at the event included state Sen. Mike Bell, Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis, Mary Beth Canida of Cleveland Chick-Fil-A, Amanda Capatillo of Dynamic Group Management, the Rev. Jennifer Newell of First Cumberland Presbyterian, Bill Martin of First Tennessee Foundation, David Blevins of Life Care Centers of America and Dr. Mike Hayes of Lee University.
Leaders also included Jim Logan of Logan-Thompson, P.C., Andrew Morgan of the Law Offices of Andrew B. Morgan, Denise Rice of Peak Performance, Janay Roberson of Sodexo and Brad Emendorfer and Orlando Gonzalez of Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe.
The build ran from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Habitat’s Southgate Hills Subdivision. The first group of 10 leaders worked from 8 a.m. to noon and the second group of 10 worked from noon to 4 p.m.
Habitat donor engagement manager Meta McGuire stated, “The Leaders’ Build is bringing people together from many different areas of the community for a common goal. Relationships are built around what people are passionate about, and we are very blessed to team up with leaders that believe in the mission of Habitat.”
The purpose of the day is to have our community leaders “step out of the boardroom” and onto the construction site to sponsor and help build a home. Each leader donated $1,000 in addition to their sweat equity for the day.
Habitat of Cleveland executive director Tammy Johnson said, “We are thrilled to have our local leaders working alongside our future homeowner, Victor Headrick, to help raise the walls of his new home. The best leaders lead by example, and that’s just what everyone is doing today.”
Johnson described the community as “blessed to have such dedicated and giving leaders, modeling leadership through action.”
State Sen. Mike Bell said the work they’re doing helps “support one of the best ministries in the country.”
“Habitat for Humanity’s been around for decades. It is a great way for people to own a home who might not be able to own a home under normal circumstances. This is the first one I’ve helped frame, but I’ve been to a number of groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings and helped roof some homes in Athens with the McMinn County Habitat,” Bell said.
Habitat Home No. 138 is going to the family of Victor Headrick, along with his son, Ethan.
“As a single parent of a 10-year-old boy, we’ve been trying to make ends meet. I never imagined I’d be that single parent, but I’ve been trying to hold everything togethe. This Habitat home is beyond a blessing for us,” Headrick said.
Headrick was crowning 2x4s, cutting boards and helping raise the walls of his home on the site along with community leaders. The home should be finished toward the end of August.
The first team of 10 leaders raised two walls within the first few hours, and work continued throughout the day.
Habitat’s core volunteers, like Dave Flower, come out to work on the homes every Tuesday and Thursday, and also lead crews on days like the Leaders’ Build.
As a retiree of Bowater, Flower has been with Habitat since 2006, and worked on all homes but one since joining.
“When I retired, I wanted to make an impact. My tombstone, if I died right now, I’d want to say, ‘He helped 87 families have a better life.’ I’m very happy about that,” Flower said.
He also praised the structure of Habitat, which sees its home recipients putting in sweat equity hours, putting a down payment on the house and attending fiscal responsibility courses.
Enjoying being around “special people,” Flower said he adores his team, and despite their differences, are incredibly productive as a unit and get a significant amount done on the job site.
Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis said a person only has to take a look around one of Habitat’s neighborhoods to understand how important the work they do is.
The first time he’s worked on a Habitat site, Davis said the decision to pick up a hammer and come work was an easy choice. He is thankful for the opportunity to help Habitat.
“It’s hot today, but it’s a lot of fun. I love being outside and doing this sort of thing. Plus, we’re making a big difference in a family’s life,” Davis said.
All of the leaders, volunteers, staff and media came together for lunch on the construction site at noon, with food provided by Sodexo.
Johnson also conducted a short program at 12:15 along with Headrick and president of Habitat’s board of directors, Jeff Morelock.
Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland is located at 300 Grove Avenue. It can be reached at 423-473-4610 or by going to https://habitatofcleveland.org.