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ISSUE: Habitat's new local director
OUR VIEW: Has eye on the problem
The local Habitat for Humanity chapter enters a new era.
For the first time in its history, the local organization is financially healthy and active enough to justify and pay for a full-time executive director.
Scott Turner enters the job with a clear appreciation for its importance.
Last summer while between jobs, he began helping a friend, who operates a business locally. Getting to know his new co-workers was a revealing experience.
Turner discovered one of his new friends lived in a residency motel of the southside of Elizabethtown. Like many people scrapping by financially, parents doing the best they can are making homes for their families in the week-to-week, temporary housing.
Finding money to pay deposits, make a down payment or keep the power turned on is beyond the scope of some folks.
“That really opened a lot up to me,” Turner said. “There’s a huge need out there.”
As the head of Hardin County’s Habitat for Humanity, he can work with volunteers to do something about it.
In its 19 years, the local organization has built 46 homes for families. Turner’s goal is to increase the organization’s output and reduce housing poverty in the area.
Of course, Habitat houses will continue to be based on residents’ qualifying. The recipients are closely scrutinized and must have an ability to meet mortgage obligations and contribute what’s often called “sweat equity” by being involved in construction.
Habitat aims to help. It does not offer handouts.
Turner has the benefit of learning from former executive director Larry Mengel, an Army retiree who has served a decade as volunteer executive director. Among his many accomplishments was establishment of ReStore, an outlet for used or surplus items that helps raise money for the organization.
Turner knows the need is real. He’s also experienced the true joy of helping a family better itself. His accomplishments are limited only by his own work ethic and this community’s heart.
This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise's editorial board.