A ‘Whew!’ for Habitat
Nov 02, 2012 | 754 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Of the many newsmakers in Bradley County, one of the busiest of late has been Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland Inc. and most recently the Habitat ReStore.

Consider these notable events.

In mid-August, Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland was named “Affiliate of the Year” and was presented a Tennessee State Impact Award by the state Habitat organization.

At the same 2012 Habitat for Humanity of Tennessee State Conference in Murfreesboro, the local affiliate’s executive director, Matt Carlson, was named “Leader of the Year.”

At about the same time, and throughout 2011 and 2012, the local Habitat affiliate remained heavily involved in working with community partners and the Bradley County Long-Term Recovery Organization to rebuild local homes destroyed by the devastating tornadoes of April 27, 2011.

In mid-September, the Habitat affiliate broke ground on a third exclusive subdivision. We speak of Victory Cove, a 27-unit Planned Urban Development on Victory Street which is just off South Lee Highway. Even as gold-painted, ritualistic shovels were digging into the open grass, the first foundation for a Habitat home was already being laid in the property’s far corner.

At about the same time, a team of Habitat volunteers — this one from Lee University — was raising the exterior walls on the Cleveland affiliate’s 100th home in 22 years. Other sponsors for the historic house include the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Whirlpool Corporation, Bank of Cleveland, Knights of Columbus/Queen of Heaven, TVA and the Fitzgerald Family Foundation. The dwelling is still under construction in Century Village on 20th Street, adjacent to Blythe-Bower Elementary School. Dedication is scheduled for the Sylvester and Stella Hetiback family on Dec. 5.

Even as new Habitat construction takes center stage, another initiative — called “Brush with Kindness” — will have completed 35 home-repair projects by the end of 2012. “Brush with Kindness” is an initiative, also conducted through volunteer labor, that completes home repairs and improvements without being a total home build or rebuild from ground up.

In late September, the Habitat ReStore temporarily closed the doors of its Grove Avenue location in order to complete — over an 11-day period — the transition of moving into its expanded showroom space. The expansion almost doubled the existing ReStore showroom sales floor. On Oct. 11, the bigger and better ReStore hosted its eagerly anticipated ribbon-cutting and grand-reopening ceremonies, a combined event which drew an unbelievably huge crowd. The ReStore set new sales records on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the reopening’s first weekend.

In mid-October, Habitat ReStore Director Paulette Smart confirmed the opening of a second location in Cleveland. Volunteer crews and Habitat for Humanity and Habitat ReStore staff had already jumped head first into the remodeling project of an existing building on North Lee Highway. The new north-side ReStore, which also will become a full-service donation center for customers and donors, will hold its own grand-opening and ribbon-cutting ceremonies on Nov. 8. And a by-invitation-only VIP Sneak Preview will be hosted for major Habitat and ReStore supporters on the evening of Nov. 5.

At this point, the most natural response to this flurry of Habitat for Humanity and Habitat ReStore activity might simply be, “Whew!”

We would agree with any who exclaim it and we would say it as well.

The past couple of years, and especially the last few months, have truly been an era of “Whew!” for this splendid community organization and its fundraising partner.

Communities fortunate enough to have a Habitat for Humanity affiliate and Habitat ReStore in their midst are truly blessed.

Our Cleveland and Bradley County hometown is one such community.