Thank You Volunteers!

, , , , ,

With volunteers central to our business model, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity is recognizing milestones and thanking volunteers with small gifts and treats daily during National Volunteer Appreciation Week (April 15-21).

Whether swinging a hammer at the construction site, fixing a floor on a home repair project, accepting donations at the ReStore, answering phones in the office, or serving on a committee, volunteer action directly impacts Habitat’s ability to serve more individuals and families in need of safe, stable, and affordable housing.

Last year, 2,100 volunteers contributed 67,400 hours of service – a value of more than $1.67 million!* Another way to look at it: the hours contributed by volunteers equates to having an additional 32 full-time staff members!

Thanks to the dedication of volunteers (and donors and advocates), Asheville Habitat directly served 87 families in 2017 through homeownership, home repair, and tithe programs.

HOME IS THE KEY to unlocking opportunities for educational and employment advancement, health improvements, financial stability, the ability to age in place, and so much more. “Every hand makes a difference and Habitat is grateful for the commitment of all volunteers, whether they help one time or once a week, for the first time or for many years,” said Andy Barnett, Executive Director.

Speaking of longevity, a number of core volunteers (those who make a weekly or bi-weekly commitment) reached noteworthy service milestones in 2017.  

  • Dick Allen and Tom Wolff, Construction volunteers, reached the 15 year service mark, as did ReStore volunteer Beth Robrecht.
  • Jack Witzel (Construction) and Lee Fadden (ReStore) have been volunteering for 20 years.
  • Paul Finegan (Construction) celebrated 25 years of service with Habitat! During that time, he has worked on 280 Habitat homes, personally helping 416 adults and 638 children build brighter futures on the foundation of safe, stable housing.

Paul Finegan received a framed quilt square.

Some fun facts about Asheville Habitat’s volunteer program:

  • In 2017, through programs such as Global Village, Thrivent Builds Worldwide, and Collegiate Challenge, as well as the signature “Before the Jam, Lend a Hand” volunteer event, Asheville Area Habitat hosted volunteers from 32 different U.S. states and 3 countries!
  • It takes 1,650 hours of volunteer labor to build one Habitat house.
  • Asheville Habitat utilizes about 140 volunteers in the ReStore each week.
  • A team of 12 volunteers traveled to Guatemala to work with Habitat. They installed Healthy Home Kits, a program that Asheville Habitat’s new coffee program supports.
  • Core volunteers (those who volunteer on a weekly or bi-weekly basis) contributed 50% of total volunteer hours last year!

Together – as volunteers, donors, sponsors, and ReStore supporters – Asheville Habitat helps address the region’s affordable housing crisis and providing opportunities for families to build better futures. “The magic in what we do is the active part of our mission – bringing people together,” said Barnett during a volunteer appreciation event earlier this year. “For 35 years, Asheville Habitat has united people around a common vision, a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Together, we have helped 500 local families build strength, stability and self-reliance on the foundation of a safe, decent home.”

To learn more about volunteering with us, click here.

To make a donation to our 35th Anniversary House in honor of a volunteer, please click here. All donations to this house, which celebrates 35 years and 500 families served, will be matched by Avl Technologies!

 

Alternative Spring Breakers Arrive in Asheville

, , ,

March Madness is here, but for Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity that means an influx of student volunteer groups spending their spring break volunteering rather than heating up the basketball courts. The groups come from all over the country and bring with them volunteers, funds, and a surge of excitement.

Groups will work mainly on Habitat’s construction site on Jon Kraus Way in Arden, but some will also work on the Shiloh Community Garden.

This year Asheville Habitat is hosting three Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge groups, as well as a group from Florida and two students from Wisconsin.

  • University of Florida: March 5 – March 9
  • Lesley University(MA): March 12 – 16
  • Florida team : March 12-13
  • College of Charleston: March 19 – 23
  • University of Wisconsin: March 26 – March 30

Construction Services Volunteer Coordinator Stephanie Wallace said, “We are so excited to welcome these Collegiate Challenge teams and other student groups from around the country. The amount of spirit and energy the students bring is infectious! We couldn’t be happier that these young adults chose Asheville, NC and our Habitat affiliate to make memories and connections that will last a lifetime.”

The groups are housed at Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, allowing them to enjoy the beauty of the mountains with access to hiking trails nearby. Each group will participate in a dinner with families who are in the process of becoming Habitat homeowners, allowing the volunteers an opportunity to get to know the people they are helping through their volunteer labor.

Check out this short video clip from WLOS.

Habitat and its Roots in Racial Equality

, , ,

Some people know that Habitat for Humanity was founded by Millard and Linda Fuller in Americus, GA, but where did the idea actually come from? Even fewer people have heard of Koinonia Farm, the community farm and social experiment in Sumter County, GA where the idea that became Habitat grew.

Koinonia Farm

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day this past week, Asheville Habitat showed the documentary Briars in the Cotton Patch, a documentary about Koinonia Farm, to staff and core volunteers. In 1942, biblical scholar and farmer Clarence Jordan began this farming community based on the radical (at the time) principal of white and black families living and farming together as equals. Koinonia faced years of boycotts, terror attacks, KKK intimidation, and violence while becoming a beacon of racial and economic equality during the Civil Rights Movement.

Clarence Jordan, left, and Millard Fuller, right

When the Fullers joined the farm, they began dreaming of service beyond Sumter County. Keeping Koinonia’s mission in the forefront- that of the Christian-based idea to bring all people together to alleviate poverty- the Fullers and Jordan began looking for a need to fulfill: housing. The Fund for Humanity became Habitat for Humanity, and despite being very unpopular in Sumter County at the time, it grew into the worldwide non-profit it is today.

This week we reflect on our organization’s roots steeped in civil rights and campaigning for the poor, tenants that Dr. King spent his life championing for. “Everyone deserves a decent place to live” is something we say a lot at Habitat. It’s easy to forget the significance of such a simple word, “everyone.” This year, Asheville Habitat staff, volunteers, and partners engaged with the community in a number of ways to honor Dr. King.

Three of our Americorp members spent the day at the Shiloh Community Garden. Lauren, Sydney, and Ryan worked alongside community members to reorganize the garden shed, put together bags of fresh produce, and spread mulch.

A new art installment in Shiloh

Lauren

Ryan and Sydney

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christ School students volunteered at the ReStore for their MLK Day of Service.

A handful of projects the students completed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are collecting cold weather items in the ReStore for BeLoved Asheville, a local non-profit that seeks to end homelessness, poverty, prejudice, and injustice. Most needed items are: winter coats, gloves, hats, socks, hoodie sweatshirts, sweaters, and sleeping bags.

Several Habitat staff members and volunteers participated in the MLK Day march in downtown Asheville.

Volunteers: The Fuel the ReStore Needs to Run

, ,

It is common knowledge that volunteers help build Habitat houses. But did you know that volunteers are also imperative to the operation of the ReStore? There are nearly 140 volunteer shifts each week, many filled by folks who have been serving for 5-20+ years! Recently, with food, drink, and music, the ReStore was transformed from a retail store into a party venue for an evening as we thanked and celebrated all of our ReStore volunteers. Special recognition went to the following volunteers for their service milestones:

5 Years – Mike Burke, Roger Gauthier, Gail Lamb, Karen Larsen, Susan Maveety, Meredith Norwood, Marianne Ryall, Martha Smith, and Beebe Woodside

10 Years – Sandra Dykes, Sid Finkel, Ned Guttman, Walt Tolley, and Lou Towson

15 Years – Beth Robrecht

20 Years – Lee Fadden

And as always, Allen Laws received the Iron Man award!

Thank you to all ReStore volunteers for sharing your time and talent with us. Thanks to you, we are one of the top performing ReStores in the nation. And most importantly, the ReStore is an important revenue stream for Asheville Habitat’s home building and repair programs.

 

Sponsors Join on to Business Bungalow #3

, , , ,

Local Businesses Partner to Sponsor Business Bungalow House #3

Affordable housing continues to be one of the most pressing, unmet needs in our region. Studies* have shown that the combination of a lack of affordable units, a critically low vacancy rate and a significant projected population growth will make housing availability in our area, especially affordable housing, a rare commodity.

The local business community is coming together to address this issue head-on by sponsoring the 3rd Business Bungalow home. Eaton Corporation has made a generous lead gift of $20,000. Businesses of all sizes can make any level of contribution to support affordable housing.

This is your opportunity to be part of the solution. Together we can build a Habitat house, address a pressing community need, and most importantly, transform the life of another family. Come join us!

*The January 2015 Regional Housing Analysis by Bowen Research Group, commissioned by the City of Asheville.

Visit our Sponsors Page to see all the local businesses participating!

Events

  • Every Monday, October – December 17 – Altar’d State
    • 10% of sales every Monday throughout the rest of 2017
  • October 24, 2017 – Virgola Italian Wine Bar
    • 10% of sales from 4 – 10 pm
  • November 18, 2017 – Second Gear
    • stud signing event from 11 am – 2 pm
    • next door at Whist, 10% of sales
  • March 8, 2018 – Rezaz
    • 15% of proceeds from Grand ReOpening lunch & dinner
    • 10% of sale from “Herbal Habitat” specialty cocktail, through 3/31/18

Donate

Anyone can support Business Bungalow #3, not just businesses! Click here to donate online. Select Business Bungalow in Area of Support.

Support Continues to Grow for The House That Beer Built

, , , , ,

Support Continues to Grow for The House That Beer Built

The lack of affordable housing is a problem many people in Asheville and Buncombe County are all too familiar with. The people and local businesses that make Asheville great—the creatives, artists, brewers, servers, chefs, entrepreneurs—deserve to live in a house they can afford.

We are excited to announce The House That Beer Built! This house, funded and built by our local brewing community, is being built in Arden. We’re excited that the breweries that add so much to Asheville culture will have a direct way to help ease its affordable housing crisis.

This house has a lead gift from the Asheville Brewers Alliance, but breweries of all sizes are getting involved. From percentage nights or a Habitat brew to volunteering or spreading the word about Habitat, there are a lot of creative ways local breweries are joining in.

We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the craft beer community and the spirit that makes Asheville home for us all. See below to see participating breweries and upcoming events, so you can grab a pint and support affordable housing!

Participating breweries

Burial Beer · Bhramari Brewing Company · Catawba Brewing · Habitat Brewing Company · Highland Brewing · Hillman Beer · Hi-Wire Brewing · New Belgium Brewing · One World Brewing · Pour Taproom · Tasty Beverage · Twin Leaf Brewery · UpCountry Brewing · White Labs, Inc. · Wicked Weed Brewing

Stay up to date with the progress of the House That Beer Built and read about the family!

Events

  • May 31, 2017 – New Belgium Brewing
    • Sign-A-Stud, all tips from tours and the bar donated
  • June 2017 – One World Brewing
    • $1 of every Brett IPA donated
  • July 13, 2017 – Pour Taproom
    • 15 % of sales from 5-9pm
  • August 4-5 – Habitat Brewing
    • Live music, trivia, and $1 per pint sold donated
  • September 14, 2017 – Catawba Brewing
    • Release of their small batch German style Marzen, $1 from each pint sold donated for the following month
  • October 2017 – Bhramari Brewing Company
    • Donating $1 from every sale of Beaucatcher Brown Ale for the whole month
  • November 13, 2017 – Hi-Wire (Big Top) hosts The House That Beer Built Kick-Off Party, starting at 5:30pm. Open to the public! Will include the Big Top’s usual Monday Burger and Pint Night $12 from Foothills Food Truck. A portion of beer sales will be donated, guests will be invited to sign a stud wall, and a door prize will be provided by Asheville Habitat.
  • December 16, 2017 – UpCountry Brewing
    • Donating 10% of all house beer sales during their one year anniversary party.
  • January 25, 2018 – Highland Brewing 
    • Donating $1 from every pint between 3-9pm during their January Community Pint Night. Join us for great beer, great community, and Ryan Roots Open Mic Jam. Highland will also be donating their tour donations for the entire month of January.
  • February 7, 2018 – Pint Night at Twin Leaf Brewing
  • February 8, 2018 – Wicked Weed (Funkatorium)
    • $1 per pour of the “Saison V” will go toward’s The House That Beer Built.
  • February 19 – Pint Night at Hillman Beer
    • $1 from every Hillman Beer pint sold from 4-10pm will go to to Asheville Habitat. And enjoy some incredible live music from the amazing Melodic AF band! 
  • February 24, 2018 – UpCountry Brewing 
    • It’s a Habitat showcase with music by 4 Habitat ReStore employees and their bands! Scott Bianchi, Kilo Fresh, Moonlight Streetfolk, and The Dirty Badgers! Kid-friendly. Music starts at 5pm. $1 from every pour goes to Habitat. Face painting from 5:30-7:30 with donations going to Habitat.
  • March 22, 2018 – Catawba Brewing (South Slope)
    • New Beer Thursday, 2-10pm: $1 from each pint of the New England Session IPA sold, will be donated to Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity starting 3/22/18 and for 4 weeks after the release!

Donate

Anyone can support the House That Beer Built, not just breweries! Click here to donate online. Select House That Beer Built in Area of Support. Or donate via text. Simply send a text to 91999 with the keyword Beer. Thank you!

Local Realtors Continue to Support Affordable Housing

, , , , ,

Candy Whitt holds up a piece of siding while it’s nailed into place Aug. 8 at Women Build House #12 in Arden.

Just about everyone in Asheville knows how serious of a problem affordable housing is, but probably no one understands it better than our local realtors. For the month of August volunteers from Town and Mountain Realty, Candy Whitt and Associates, and Peggy Crowe Realtor, Coldwell Banker King came out to lend a hand with our new home construction at our Shiloh and Arden job sites. In addition to volunteering, these three realty firms are also proud Blueprint Sponsors ($1,000 +)!

“It’s important for local realtors to get involved with Habitat because we make a living off of housing. These (Habitat homeowner) families are so important; they are the heart of our community. Without Asheville Habitat, they would not be buying because Asheville’s affordable housing market is woefully pitiful,” Candy Whitt, of Candy Whitt and Associates said.

For Peggy Crowe, Habitat’s mission is one that resonates with her deeply and even affects the way she does business. For every sale, she donates a portion of that to Asheville Habitat’s Women Build House! In addition, Crowe is in her third year as a Blueprint Sponsor.

Town and Mountain Realty at the McKinley job site in Shiloh.

Also in August, was the closing of a Habitat home sponsored by the Rusty Pulliam Foundation and the Land of Sky Association of Realtors, located in Shiloh’s McKinley neighborhood. For $40 more a month than the Fulga-Caburgan family paid for rent, they purchased this four-bedroom/two-bath home allowing their three boys and two-month old girl space to live and thrive!

These agencies are just a few of many local realtors that volunteer time, funds, or both throughout the years to support Asheville Habitat. With each dollar donated and volunteer hour contributed, our local realtors are making a lasting impact on affordable housing around Buncombe County and Asheville. We feel proud to know that those selling homes here believe in our vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Thank you!

Volunteers from Peggy Crowe’s team at the Arden job site this month.

Finding a Niche in Retirement

,

By Alex Cox

On this Thank You Thursday, we are recognizing two volunteers that contribute their time to repairing small appliances, lights, and other electrical items in the ReStore — tasks that can be time consuming and are not necessarily for everyone. These types of repairs can be tedious and you definitely get dirty!

Dick Manz has been volunteering with the ReStore for 18 years. During the last three, he has been working in a dedicated space on a lower level of the ReStore, crowds of vacuums gathered around and bags, cables, and tools hanging from the walls.

“We had a stack of vacuums about a mile high, all needing repair,” said Dick. “You need ample space to spread everything out and properly repair the units that come in. I offered to work on all of them if I had enough room and the tools to do it.” ReStore management was more than happy to oblige.

“I’ve accumulated quite the mess down here, and sometimes I’m not sure what to do with some of it,” said Dick. “But someone has to do it, and it’s not a problem at all for me.”

Dick came to Asheville to retire. Born in Oklahoma, his background is in engineering. He was also in a management position at the paper mill in Canton, NC, about 20 miles west of Asheville. Since his relocation here in 1992, he’s been volunteering most of that time, taking only a couple years off.

Another volunteer, originally from Florida, has been responsible for making sure some of the other electrical items that are sold in the ReStore are in proper working order. Richard Pollard has been volunteering with the ReStore for three years. His background is in maintenance for a nursing home, which has translated well to his volunteer position.

One of his first projects at the ReStore included working on lawnmowers, and then he moved to other electrical components such as appliances and lights.

“I was getting restless after my previous job, and really wanted something to do, and some way to contribute,” said Richard. “I came here, started working on some of the things I knew about, and it kind of went from there.”

Richard also contributes his time to teach his skills to others. He takes on young volunteers who come in and want to learn, sometimes as part of large groups. He has them help out around his workspace while they gain experience regarding electrical repairs.

Richard may have come to the ReStore looking to contribute, but has stayed because of the supportive environment. “I definitely like it here. There’s no drama, no arguing between the people that volunteer here,” Richard said happily. “Everything is a collaborative effort.”

Every volunteer contributes to the successful operation of the ReStore. And when volunteers like Dick Manz and Richard Pollard contribute their time, a strong work ethic and attention to detail, they make everyone else’s job easier. We are thankful for their service and their willingness to get dirty and do the jobs that need to get done. Thank you Dick and Richard!

If you are interested in volunteering with Asheville Habitat, please click here to learn more or sign up.

Flexible Volunteers Contribute to Success of ReStore

, ,

By Alex Cox

Since proceeds from ReStore sales cover administrative and fundraising costs, the 140 volunteers that serve every week are essential in enabling the store to remain a source of funding that allows Habitat to serve families in our community. This week, in Honor of National Volunteer Appreciation Week, we are spotlighting ReStore volunteers Marianne Ryall and Ned Guttman.

Marianne Ryall, from Beaufort, SC, moved to Asheville to be closer to her family, specifically her son. She got familiar with the ReStore out of necessity: after moving here, Marianne needed furniture for her new space, and shopped at the ReStore to find items for her home. She has been volunteering with the ReStore since 2014. Marianne has been invaluable because she has come to be a “floater”, meaning she covers different volunteer shifts as needs change. She has to remain flexible, but that’s no problem for her. Marianne says she has enjoyed her time at the ReStore and plans to volunteer for the foreseeable future.

“This ReStore is definitely different,” Marianne said. “I’ve been to others in South Carolina, but this one is wonderful. Everyone is so helpful and there is such a diverse selection of things.”

Ned Guttman, who has been retired for 10 years and has been volunteering since, is another who steps up to meet needs. “After I retired 10 years ago, I wanted to give back to the community, and volunteering is a way to do that,” said Ned. “I think Habitat is a very worthwhile cause.”

Ned comes in weekly for his regular position of testing and repairing electronics, and also comes in another day each week to help with a separate duty. He knew there was a need for someone to enter volunteer hours into the database on a regular basis. Without being asked, Ned offered his time to complete the task.

“I added the data entry because I knew they needed help, and I am very comfortable with computers.”  Keeping up with the database requires attention to detail, patience, and a commitment to volunteering every week. The numbers need to be submitted on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis, and Ned understands the importance of meeting deadlines. He added, “I still volunteer for Habitat because of the appreciation given to the volunteers.”

Every volunteer is vital to Habitat’s mission and the ReStore’s daily operations, and when volunteers take initiative to recognize needs and fill them, it allows things to run even more smoothly. So in honor of National Volunteer Appreciation Week, we say thank you to Ned and Marianne for their flexibility and their dedication!

If you’re interested in volunteering with Habitat, please click here to learn more or sign up.

Inspiring Others Towards Excellence Through Leadership

, , ,

by Greta Bush

What do you get when you mix humility, grace, and strong leadership together? One Bill Lineberry. Bill has been a Core volunteer with Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity since 2013, starting on the jobsite, then adding in a role with the Student Build House and finally, joining the Outreach Committee. Bill also volunteers with Western North Carolina Historical Association and has a large role in coordinating speakers and professors for its adult education program.

Bill may not realize this about himself, but when he commits to something, he excels at it, and he subtly encourages others to do the same, simply by leading by example. No matter what role he plays, he seems to have a natural way of raising the bar. After 39 years in the education field—a teacher of American History and Economics for the first 25 years and a principal for the remaining 14—one can see how the years of leadership and excellence have intertwined their way into the core of Bill’s personality. Looking back on his career, Bill said, “It was a wonderful process for me to go from teaching and then leading. I couldn’t have had a better experience for my life.”

I know Bill through Habitat’s Outreach committee; members of the committee are volunteers or Habitat homeowners who represent Habitat to the public in various ways. For example, they might staff an informational table at a service fair or speak to local clubs, faith communities or school groups about what Habitat does. I serve as the staff liaison for the committee, and Bill is one of the star members. (Let’s face it: they’re all stars! I am only somewhat biased.) I have also seen Bill in action with the Student Build—a project I’ll expand on momentarily.

Bill started volunteering with Habitat on the construction site in 2013. It was through his church, First Presbyterian, that he signed up and found himself on our jobsite in Swannanoa. He found the construction supervisors to be so patient and forgiving that he kept coming back, and soon became a Core volunteer, coming every Friday. Of the supervisors, Bill says they “are the best! They are so patient with people like me, who are trying to build skills. And they utilize you and work with you, and when you leave after a day of work, you just feel really good.”

Speaking of being “the best”, Bill has always made a good impression on me. In writing this blog post, I tried to pick that feeling apart—what is it about Bill that makes me gush about what a great volunteer he is? If there is one word I would use to describe him, it’s Excellence.

I’ve noticed that in every role Bill takes, he strives to do his best—he strives for excellence. And, that has led him from one volunteer role to the next. (People start to take notice when you’re good at something!) Soon after becoming a core jobsite volunteer, Bill volunteered to help with the Student Build—another role in which he excels. In that role, among other tasks, he gave public presentations; soon afterward he was nominated for Habitat’s Outreach Committee.

Bill’s previous career benefits him immensely in his roles with the Student Build and Outreach Committee. When he was principal of Woodward Academy in Atlanta (a private school of 2,000 students from pre-K to 12th grade), he led 100 faculty and 25 support staff. He said, “It was a grand affair. I worked 24/7 for fourteen years and loved every minute of it!” On the committee, Bill raises his hand for scenarios that make others nervous—presenting to a crowd of 100 or larger doesn’t faze him. This is one of the ways that Bill makes my job easy. I have full confidence that he will do an excellent job, no matter where we send him to represent Habitat.

When talking with Bill, it’s easy to see that he is most passionate about the Student Build, and he is quick to attribute credit for the project to Charlie Franck (another outstanding core volunteer, who we hope to introduce you to in a later post). The Student Build is, essentially, a coalition of local private schools that raise money and awareness for Habitat (currently Asheville Christian Academy, Christ School,Carolina Day School and The Franklin School of Innovation). They have funded three full-house sponsorships for $55,000 each, and for each build, have provided student volunteers (age 16+) to help build the house. These schools incorporate Habitat and service learning into their curriculum. There is a lot more to it, but that’s the basic explanation.

Bill met Charlie on the jobsite in Swannanoa just after the first Habitat Student Build House had wrapped up, and offered to help on the second house. With his background in education it seemed to be a perfect fit. Now, as we approach the closing of the third Student Build House, Bill is still happily on board. As you would expect from a former teacher, Bill has a desire to see others succeed, and through his involvement with the Student Build, he sees first-hand just how transformative the work with Habitat and the future homeowners has been for the students. Here what he has to say in this video. (His remarks start at 2:40.)

I asked Bill to share with me a particular memory from volunteering that he is fond of. He explained that he can’t share just one moment, because the effect of the Student Build is continuous and encompassing. He said, “I am just blown away, constantly, by how mature these kids are beyond their years. To understand there are needs that people have, and they have a joy of wanting to help meet those needs…every time I see these kids interacting on the jobsite with the new homeowner families, I am just overwhelmed and so happy to be involved and to be a small part of this.

[Along with academics, arts, and athletics] there’s a piece missing in working with kids, and that is, you need to connect with other folks. You need to realize that you’re here by the grace of God to give back, because you’re able to give back. And once we put that piece, now called Service Learning, into our curriculum in my school in Atlanta, we watched kids become adults in front of us. Not just good students in the classroom, wonderful athletes on the athletic field, or musicians and artists. But adults.”

Bill went on to explain that he is seeing that here, too, with all the schools involved. Bill plays an important role with the Student Build. Along with coaching the students on the Student Build Leadership Team, he gives presentations to the schools to help de-mystify Habitat’s work. Affordable homeownership, Asheville’s housing crisis, mortgages…these are not topics that your average elementary-to-high school-aged student thinks about, let alone, understands. But Bill makes it interesting for them, and explains how their fundraising and volunteer work is making a difference in our community. He adds fuel to their fire. And this information has made its way into the school’s curriculum. The work that these students do is impressive. Bill says, “This whole thing has been a real joy.”

Bill and his wife Margie have been married for 43 years and they have have two grown children, Neil and Mary Beth. Bill affirmed that he is a lucky man.

After living in Atlanta for decades, they moved to Asheville to be nearer to family. “When I was growing up as a youngster, I knew I wanted to retire and live in Asheville because we spent a week every summer here for vacation. And I grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina— which is a beautiful place, but it is hot as Hades from April until September!” Growing up without air conditioning, Bill said he didn’t know what he was missing until he came to the mountains and it was so nice and cool at night. “So, I said, sort of subconsciously, this is a place I want to come to.”

It seems Bill has found his stride and is enjoying retirement. And I’m happy that Asheville has become more to him than a place with a temperate climate: it is a place where he continues to make a difference and instill in others a desire to achieve excellence.