By Kristen Keefer
Retired pastor Jamie Dale has been an admirer of Habitat for Humanity’s mission since he first became acquainted with the organization in 1978. So naturally when he began volunteering at the Asheville Habitat ReStore in November of 2014, he was a great fit. He currently volunteers twice a week in the ReStore’s Small Appliances department, and he serves on Asheville Area Habitat’s Events Committee.
Working in Small Appliances allows him to fix items that may have otherwise been tossed into a landfill. This component of his work is very important to him. Appreciative of Habitat’s dedication to waste diversion, Dale noted “The ReStore does a really good job of refurbishing items and keeping them out of the landfill. The fact that it translates into housing is even better!” But what Jamie says he enjoys most about being a ReStore volunteer is, “You get to meet some fun people and the atmosphere is generally positive. People seem to really enjoy working here.”
In addition to volunteering with Habitat, Jamie has recently taken on another role. For nearly two months, he has been staying an hour after his ReStore volunteer shift to register voters. The seed that sprouted this idea however, had been planted nearly a year prior, after he attended a conference addressing voter issues. Jamie felt compelled to respond and get involved. At the time, he was unsure where to begin; but recently, an opportunity presented itself.
Annie Butzner, a volunteer for the NAACP, had already begun registering voters at the ReStore when Jamie offered a helping hand. Inside the ReStore, in the Upper Showroom, is Annie’s table of voter pamphlets and registration forms. On Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, this table is occupied by Jamie. His approach to registering voters is straightforward, honest, and confident. He explains, “Actively ask people if they are registered, don’t just wait on them to notice you or the sign.” As the list of voters Jamie has registered continues to grow, his go-getter approach is proving to be effective. And, to Jamie’s pleasant surprise, around 95% of the people he has approached are already registered voters. Jamie’s message to those that are still unregistered voters…register! He acknowledges that becoming an informed voter is an involved process, but advocates the importance of embracing this process. For Jamie, a citizen’s vote is their local and global voice.
Jamie’s passion for registering voters, giving usable items a second lease on life, and helping Habitat plan and execute events, is inspirational. He leads by example and demonstrates the power of taking action when you are passionate about a cause. Thank you Jamie, for the eclectic mixture of volunteer roles you embrace, both with Habitat for Humanity and in the greater community. We appreciate you!