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New Habitat for Humanity director hopes to make a difference for families

The executive director of Habitat for Humanity, Terry Laney, at the ReStore on Sycamore Street.

The executive director of Habitat for Humanity, Terry Laney, at the ReStore on Sycamore Street.

ANNIE BLACKBURN
Staff Writer

Terry Laney started with Habitat for Humanity as a volunteer in 1996 after a tragedy struck his family. Six weeks after the death of his granddaughter, his wife started volunteering at a local Habitat for Humanity. Two weeks later, so did he. Four years after that, when the store manager position opened up, Laney happily accepted it. After the heartache and loss he suffered, he felt like making a change in his life, and Habitat for Humanity fit the bill.
After serving for several years with Habitat for Humanity in several capacities, even applying for Habitat international, Laney opened up the newspaper one day and saw the job opening for the executive director
position of the Lincoln County affiliate.
“I came home from Atlanta and opened up the newspaper and saw this ad for Lincoln County Habitat Executive Director,” Laney said. “I knew it was open for about two month but it didn’t hit me before, but when I looked at it that day, I knew that was what I was supposed to do.”
Laney applied for the position and officially began as the new executive director for the Lincoln County affiliate of Habitat for Humanity on July 1.
According to Laney, the Lincoln County Habitat for Humanity has not served a new family for housing in over three years but, during a board meeting held on Aug. 20, Habitat voted on two new families.
“It’s all about families,” Laney said.
Focus has previously been on building, but Laney said the driving force behind Habitat for Humanity is the families that are served. Laney immediately put together a selection committee, comprised of volunteers. Once the committee was in place, he combed through the backlog of family applications.
“It’s an opportunity to put your faith in action,” Laney said, “and when I say faith, I mean all they have to have is the belief that everyone deserves a decent place to live. That’s what motivates me.”
Laney wants the driving focus of Habitat to be a hand up rather than a hand out, and hopes to embark upon fundraising events other than the ReStore.
“Ultimately, we want the ReStore to account for only 30 percent of our income,” Laney said.
Over the past years, Habitat for Humanity has served one family with repairs every year, and while Laney feels that is great news, he feels they can do better.
“The greater news is that we are going to do better,” Laney said. “We’ve already doubled that with the two new families that were approved for new construction.
Community presence is big on the new director’s to-do list, with a hope to expand the Re-store to an eastern Lincoln County location.
All in all, the drive behind Laney’s desire is one of community and a want to see people helping each other in the most amazing way possible.
“I came here (wanting) to serve more families,” Laney said.
Habitat for Humanity is located at 809 East Sycamore Street in downtown Lincolnton.

Image courtesy of Jaclyn Anthony / Lincoln Times-News

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