New Habitat chief takes reigns - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New Habitat chief takes reigns

August 5, 2005

Americus- Every day, all over the world, a volunteer hammers away on a Habitat home.

Friday, employees who work in the downtown Americus headquarters met the new leader at a closed meeting at the Rylander Theater. New chief executive Jonathan Reckford has also met with founder Millard Fuller.

"I had never heard of Mr. Jonathan Reckford," Fuller said. "I had no idea who he was."

But he was impressed with the new chief executive. Millard and Linda Fuller were fired in January due to what the board called a pattern of divisive and disruptive comments.

Thursday, Reckford told the Fullers he wants Habitat to work with them, not against them. "That's good news, because that's what I have been saying all along."

Fuller says the issue of moving Habitat Headquarters was mentioned when he was still there, but he always said no. "There are deep roots in this community and if they moved it out it would be a very unwise decision. It would be a tragedy for this community."

He also pointed out that other major corporations, like Wal-mart, operate from cities the size of Americus and even smaller. But Habitat has already moved the financial office to the metro-Atlanta area.

The International Board is expected to make a decision in the next 60 to 90 days.

Fuller is running his new organization from the city and is getting ready to distribute $48,000 for home building in Michigan. Not only is Americus the home of Habitat, but it's become an important and vital part of the economy here.

"Thousands of people come in here every year to see Habitat for Humanity, to see Global Village and you take all that way and it would be a huge blow to this community."

A blow to the community and maybe, a blow to the more than 400 people who work there.

feedback at news@walb.com