Side by Side for 17 Years and Counting

by Jonathan Dermid

At the Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity ReStore, we have been diligently working for 25 years to fund our cause – affordable housing. As we have shown in previous blog profiles, none of this would be possible without the work of our wonderful volunteers. Some of our volunteers have even been here long enough to help us grow from the small Home Store in downtown Asheville to the expansive, multi-level ReStore we have today.

Lee Fadden (pictured, L) and Jan Wright (pictured, R) are two of these volunteers, having been here for 17 and 25 years, respectively. In Jan’s case, she has been volunteering with us since our inception, and Lee for only a few years less.

“We were downtown first, and when we had stuff to price, we just had a little tiny area and an old farm sink,” Lee said of her time at the Home Store downtown.

After retiring from a career at Eaton Corporation, Lee found that she wanted something new to do.

“I retired and I wanted something to do, and I believe in what Habitat does in terms of helping people and making homes affordable,” she said. This worked out well for Lee, because she was good friends with Jan even before volunteering.

“Jan is one of my best friends, and she’s been here since they opened downtown,” Lee said. “So when I was looking to do something, Jan suggested Habitat to me and I’ve been here ever since.”

Today, they volunteer side-by-side in the housewares department, cleaning and preparing various home goods for sale, just as they have for the past 17 years.

There has been a great deal of looking back the ReStore’s history in light of the store’s 25th Anniversary. It has been encouraging to see that not only have we grown in our ability to both promote and fulfill our mission, but that some aspects have remained the same, like the commitment of many of our volunteers. No matter how we grow and change throughout the years, it’s nice to know that there is a solid foundation of caring individuals like Jan and Lee that keep our cause alive in the community.  And for that, we thank them.