Chattanooga Rotary Club Completes Habitat House

Friday, October 18, 2013

Members of the Chattanooga Rotary Club rolled up their sleeves over 12 weekends to complete a Habitat House as part of their centennial celebration. More than 80 members of the club provided over 1,000 hours of volunteer time to complete the home,

The home, located in the Southside community at 1125 14th St., was dedicated ton Thursday at noon when Rotarians  gather for their weekly lunch on site. Habitat chairs Rowena Belcher and Vance Travis provided leadership on the project and were joined in the effort by teams formed from within the club.

Cohutta Banking Company, Vision Hospitality, Decosimo CPAs, First Tennessee, The Hunter Museum of American Art, Maycreate and the Rotaract club all provided teams to work on the project. Two women-led teams, “We Paint More than Our Nails” and “We Touch up More than Our Roots” also provided some much-needed assistance to the construction site.

Mr. Travis noted changes that were incorporated into the design of the Rotary Habitat House. The floor plan was offset to increase bedroom size while subtle color and texture changes were made to make the building seem larger in scale.

The owner of the new Habitat Home, Mokhtar Abo, moved to Chattanooga just six years ago from Sudan with a mission - to find employment, become a U.S. citizen, and to achieve the American Dream.

“I am so very grateful for Habitat for Humanity and the Chattanooga Rotary,” said Mr. Abo. “Habitat helped me to achieve the American Dream and build a better life. Now that I have home, I will apply for my U.S. citizenship so that I can send for my family in Sudan. It is my hope that we are reunited soon.”

The Rotary Habitat House and the three adjoining houses are hoped to spark a renaissance of the Southside neighborhood. Club President Tom Griscom said, “The selection of this project wasn’t by happenstance. Throughout our 100-year history, the Chattanooga Rotary Club has always provided leadership within the community. Our goal with this project was to provide a unique Habitat Home that will encourage pride in homeownership and reinvestment into the neighborhood.”

Habitat’s Executive Director David Butler said, “Together with the support of Chattanooga Rotary Club, we have been able to transform the lives of the 245th family in the Greater Chattanooga Area. The investment of time and funding by groups like the Chattanooga Rotary Club underscores the change that can be made throughout our neighborhoods. We appreciate the opportunity to partner with the Rotary Club and thank them for their incredible work and commitment to Habitat for Humanity.”

Area businesses, churches, or civic organizations interested in joining Habitat to expand opportunities of affordable homeownerships to more families in the Greater Chattanooga Area by being a home sponsor, should contact Dominique Brandt, Director of Volunteers, Special Events & Sponsorship at 423.756.0507 or visit

The Rotary Club of Chattanooga was formed on New Year’s Night, Jan. 1, 1914, when a group of business and professional men assembled in the old Commercial Club in the Hamilton National Bank.

The Club is the 103rd Rotary Club and the 21st largest club in the world.

Today, the Club is comprised of professional men and women who are community leaders and active volunteers. The Club is often addressed by national and international leaders from very diverse backgrounds and has over 300 active members.

The Rotary Habitat House: By the Numbers

Number of Weekends Worked: 12
Number of Rotary Volunteers: 80
Number of Hours Volunteered: 1000
Plantings on the Site: 19
Including, 4 Eastern Redbuds, 1 Autumn Blaze Maple, 6 Burford Hollies, 2 Mary Nell Hollies, and 6 Carissa Hollies.
Gallons of Paint Used: 52
Number of Nails: 591
Amount of Lumber: over 800 pieces

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