It was a chance for the Habitat for Humanity of Effingham County to say what it doesn’t say enough, chapter president Brett Gordon said — thank you.
“Or with enough conviction,” he said at Thursday’s community appreciation banquet at the New Ebenezer Retreat Center. “We’ve got a lot ahead of us, but we have a lot of accomplishments behind us.”
Clive Rainey, Habitat for Humanity International’s director of community relations and the organization’s first volunteer, told the Effingham members and volunteers that they create good news.
“On airplanes and in the airports, you are constantly bombarded with the headlines,” he said. “On the airplane, I have to hear about Anna Nicole Smith and the Duke lacrosse team and Don Imus. I couldn’t believe the people on the airplane reading this, filling their minds with poison.”
Rainey is credited with coming up with the “sweat equity” concept for Habitat, where prospective homeowners turn their labor on a house into their down payment.
“What matters is that you make the right relationships with your neighbors,” he said. “We are hope of the world for a decent place to live.”
Rainey took part in the dedication of a house in West Louisvlle, Ky., being built for a Muslim family from Somalia. The house was being sponsored by a Jewish organization and St. Mary’s Health Care, a Catholic organization.
Worldwide, Habitat has built more than 200,000 homes worth $3.1 billion.
“We redeem even the times behind us,” Rainey said, “when we do what we’re asked to do. You are doing what God called you to do. Keep up the great work and the faithfulness.”
One of Effingham Habitat’s current projects is the building of a home for Shirley Milton, who works with the Effingham County High School custodial staff. Milton has two children, one of whom she adopted, and has taken in two at-risk children.