By Jonathan Dermid
At the Asheville Habitat ReStore, no single volunteer is an island unto themselves. They all work together in collaboration to effectively further the cause of Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity, and for some, this team effort extends beyond the store itself. Some are married, as is the case with Lou and Jerry Towson.
“My husband got started first. We’re both very interested in providing affordable housing for people, and I just wanted to do something where I’d be with other people,” Lou said. “I started at the cash register, but every time we had a lull, I’d be back there organizing and trying to ‘stage’ the shelves because I’m an interior designer.”
Both Lou and Jerry have been volunteering with Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity for more than ten years. While Lou has found her niche at the ReStore, Jerry has been primarily involved on the affiliate side of things.
“He works regularly on the construction site, he was on the Board of Directors, and he was on the family selection committee,” Lou said. “He has a background in civil engineering, so he has been able to use that, because he likes to build and that’s a big help on the job site.”
Both share the common values that Habitat was founded upon: community members working together to enable everyone to have a safe, decent and affordable place to live.
“One of my core beliefs is that home ownership helps build family stability,” Jerry said. “A safe haven for parents and children usually reduces the stress of day-to-day living.”
He also sees the process of volunteering as being a positive in his own life, because it allows for an outlet for his energy.
“In my retirement years, by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, I can use my physical energy to help other families accomplish their goal of homeownership, and it has been pleasure to do that,” he said.
Lou echoes this sentiment, as she sees volunteering as satisfying for a few reasons.
“It makes me feel good because it’s what I like to do, but also because it lets me do a small part to help people who are seeking affordable homes,” she said. “The most satisfying things to me are making the ReStore look attractive and interacting with the other volunteers.”
Their volunteerism has also created a nice bond in their marriage, according to Lou.
“It’s kind of nice for us to volunteer together, because even if we’re not in the same place, we still go to all the functions together and we understand what the other is doing,” she said. “It’s something we’re both very committed to, and it’s nice to have that bond.”
If you would like to explore volunteering with Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity on your own, or with a friend or family member, click here to learn more about opportunities and how to sign up.