By Rachel Horowitz, Volunteer Program Manager
Happy National Volunteer Week! We want to take a moment and recognize some of our amazing volunteers over the past year. Here are our 2018-2019 volunteer spotlights. Scroll down to learn more about each of them.
Tom and Trish Lauer
The Caterpillar Crew
Karen and Alec Beaton
Carolyn Hunter and Rita Dragonette
Dick and Sheryl Forbis
Randel Sink (Construction)
Randel has been volunteering with our construction crew since 2004. He has also traveled to South America numerous times to work on Habitat sites. Randel is retired from IBM and spends some of his time not at Habitat building violins. We appreciate that he always tries to build and maintain relationships with our partner families.
In 2016, Randel was given the Golden Hammer Award, an annual honor provided to outstanding Habitat supporters.
Linda Bell (Landscaping)
(Pictured 3rd from the left alongside her landscaping crew)
Linda Bell has conducted landscaping with our Chatham Habitat homes for the past four years. Whether it’s meeting with homeowners to determine the plants they’d like, drawing a landscaping plan, purchasing the plants, or directing the planting crew, Linda helps every step of the way. She also leaves homeowners with knowledge on how to care for their plants.
If you drive by our Habitat homes, chances are you’ll see some of Linda’s work! We are so grateful for her efforts.
Lee Cope (ReStore)
Our newest Golden Hammer Award winner, Lee, has been volunteering in the Chatham Habitat ReStore for the past decade, leading the charge in pricing items and helping train new staff. She also greatly helped to improve the process of moving items from the back of the store to the floor. She sometimes volunteers six days a week and loves getting to know the other volunteers and staff. We are so grateful for Lee and all of the work that she has done!
Carol Kooner (Sewing Bee)
Carol Kooner is a key Sewing Bee volunteer, crafting numerous handmade items to be sold at our ReStore every month. The Sewing Bee describes Carol as a “master seamstress,” and her time spent designing and sewing materials both inside and outside of the group has been integral to the success of their projects. You can see many of Carol’s creations just from walking around the ReStore. Thank you, Carol!
Tom & Trish Lauer (Construction)
Trish and Tom are a husband and wife team that are part of our crew of construction regulars. They have participated in all aspects of building affordable housing. If you’re new to the construction site, you’ll likely see them wearing our signature yellow hard hats!
Bart Holtz (Apostle Build)
Bart Holtz is the fearless leader of the Chapel in the Pines construction volunteer group. His church comes out to build once a month, and many of the members have become highly skilled in construction tasks.
Bart has also organized Chapel in the Pines’ involvement in our Apostle Build program (where Chatham County churches come together to support one or more of our homes). We appreciate his ongoing dedication!
Maureen Hughes (ReStore)
(Pictured on the right alongside another amazing volunteer, Carolyn)
Have you noticed a beautiful holiday or furniture display in the ReStore before? Chances are that Maureen is one of the masterminds behind it. Maureen has been a regular volunteer in the ReStore for many years. She ensures that the store is welcoming and attractive for new and returning customers. We are grateful to have her back for Christmas in July and other events this year!
The Caterpillar Crew (Construction)
Spearheaded by board member Andy Cruickshank, our cohort of Caterpillar retirees have completed many construction projects over the past year. Their accomplishments include building more than 100 scaffolding walkboards, dozens of new sawhorses, and a drying rack to use with painted siding.
They have also helped with our construction needs by clearing lots in Siler City, and assisted new volunteers at our special events. We appreciate their knowledge, experience, and willingness to lend a hand!
Karen & Alec Beaton (Construction)
Karen and Alec are a mother-and-son volunteer team who became regulars with Chatham Habitat for the past two years. They first became involved during one of our Siler City builds. Karen is actively involved in the Chatham County community, participating in CORA and other local nonprofits.
You can usually find Karen and Alec doing siding, cutting and installing soffits, or climbing on ladders and squeezing into tight spaces. We appreciate their support during our weekday builds.
Carolyn Hunter& Rita Dragonette (ReStore)
Carolyn and Rita have been ReStore regulars and volunteer leaders for years. They currently each have around 1,000 volunteer hours with us! They are also good friends – you will rarely see one running the register without the other.
Carolyn organizes an annual Governors Club drive where jewelry and handbags are collected and donated to our stores. Both ladies have seen the stores change over the years and are always ready to offer helpful advice and feedback about our volunteer programs. Make sure to stop by the ReStore on Thursday afternoons to hear their witty jokes!
Mike Ennis (ReStore Too)
Mike has been volunteering at our ReStore Too every week for many years. Because of his love of working on cars, he started out testing and repairing engine parts that were donated to the store. Since then, he has helped us determine the value of these materials and make sure they’re in good condition for our customers.
We love having volunteers like Mike who can recognize a need and are passionate about a solution! We’re also happy he can put his talents to use as a Chatham Habitat volunteer.
Dick and Sheryl Forbis
(Pictured: Sheryl with Executive Director Jerry Whortan)
Sheryl and Dick Forbis are no strangers to Habitat volunteering. Sheryl serves as the Chatham Habitat Sewing Bee organizer, and Dick is a longtime construction volunteer who has been the board chair for both Chatham Habitat and Habitat for Humanity of North Carolina. They both also created and support the Dick Forbis Scholarship Fund.
At the Chatham Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting, Dick and Sheryl won the Citizenship and Service Award. According to the Chamber, recipients of this award “go above and beyond to demonstrate their commitment to make a difference in the community.” We are so proud of both of them and are thankful that we could be part of their volunteer legacy.
Doris Krepp (Office)
You have probably seen Doris while browsing our ReStores – she’s been a volunteer there for a long time! A few months ago, she took a leap across the road to our main office, where she is front and center to talk to guests about our programs.
Doris has been reaching out to our homeowners with information about registering to vote in Chatham County. She also helped us translate voter registration materials into Spanish so that we can effectively reach all of our partner families. She is always a bright and welcoming presence to those who arrive at our door, and is always ready to share her skills. Thank you, Doris!
Elizabeth Zeringue (Construction)
Elizabeth has been a supporter of Chatham Habitat for Humanity since the 1990s. She first volunteered while on a group build with Chatham County employees, and decided to continue volunteering so she could develop new skills and meet other people in the area.
Since then, Elizabeth has been involved with many different nonprofit organizations through the Rotary Club of Siler City. And when special events like Collegiate Challenge and Women Build come around, she is ready to lead and teach groups of new volunteers.
Scott Barnes (ReStore)
The electronics section in our ReStore is often packed with donated computers, speakers, and other gadgets. Along with this comes a need to test and determine the quality of each item. Scott enjoys helping people with technology and jumped at the chance to do this for the ReStore. He has tested countless gadgets for us. We appreciate his hard work and positive attitude!
Jan Sherwin (Office)
Jan has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity for 19 years, from Boston and Northern Virginia to Pittsboro and Siler City. She currently volunteers in our main office, works on outreach to Chatham County groups, and serves on the development committee. Jan says she enjoys being part of an organization that successfully provides affordable housing for Chatham County residents. She likes that she can believe in our mission and see people’s dreams come to fruition.
Martha Key (Sewing Bee)
(1926-2019) Martha co-founded the Chatham Habitat ReStore Sewing Bee in 2013 with her daughter Sheryl Forbis. She contributed countless hours to Chatham Habitat while doing what she loved – sewing decorative items, including the majority of the Sewing Bee’s pillows. The Sewing Bee is still active today and volunteers in our main office monthly.
Martha died peacefully at her Winston-Salem home in February. She was 93 years old, and was still making items for the Sewing Bee the week prior to her death. Her legacy and impact will live on through her volunteer work!
Tom Wagner (Construction)
(Pictured on the far left of the photo above)
Tom has been volunteering with Chatham Habitat for Humanity’s construction crew for decades, and has more than 30 years of construction experience! He recently signed on to be a crew leader for Collegiate Challenge. After seeing how much fun the students had at a dance in Apex last year, Tom decided to arrange a dance for this year’s crew. He brought together his band – the Carolina Cat Wranglers, pictured above – and his friends at The Great Hall on Chicken Bridge Road. They graciously hosted our Collegiate Challenge volunteers, board members, and staff for a night of dinner and dancing. We’re grateful to Tom for his dedication to Chatham Habitat, and also for teaching us how to contra dance!
Melissa Autry (ReStore)
Melissa was looking for a way to get involved in her community. As a frequent customer at the Chatham Habitat ReStores, she wanted to try her hand at volunteering behind the scenes. She says her favorite task is organizing new items that come in. Melissa is always ready to greet customers with a smile. We’re so glad to have her with us!