As they gather this Saturday to celebrate completion of their 15th Habitat build in Chattanooga, members of Rivermont Presbyterian Church will pause to remember Ross Russell. For many years, men from the church have gathered each week to build with Habitat. Mr. Russell was a fixture of the group.
Mr. Russell was a native of Nemaha, Ne. After serving his country as a Naval Aviator in World War II, he went on to earn a PhD in Chemical engineering from Iowa State University. He later joined DuPont, which brought him to Chattanooga, where he retired in 1982. He spent much of his life serving others through civic involvement and his church. Mr. Russell was a long time supporter of Habitat for Humanity. He worked with several mission teams on construction projects in Haiti and Mexico and was a regular volunteer with the local Habitat chapter up into his 80's.
This year’s home - the 15th funded and built by the congregation - has been built for Tiffany Kyles and her son Daniel, in Mr. Russell’s memory by his family and friends.
Ms. Kyles learned the value of hard work at a young age. Her early childhood was transient. When she was in the eights grade, she moved in with her grandmother and began working. After high school, Ms. Kyles enrolled in Chattanooga State where she is working towards a nursing degree. She currently works as a Psyc. Tech at Moccasin Bend Hospital. Before becoming a partner with Habitat, Ms. Kyles lived in subsidized housing at the Villages in Alton Park.
The Villages provided helpful information for Ms. Kyles, who was hoping to buy her own house. She discovered a program at the Bethlehem Center and Church Koinonia Credit Union that helps area residents save towards their first home by matching deposits to a special account. After completing the program, she heard about a Habitat partner family with circumstances so similar to hers that she decided to apply for a Habitat home.
“Becoming a homeowner will be one of the greatest accomplishments of my life and an important investment in my son’s future,” Ms. Kyles said. “I am so excited about working with Habitat to reach this goal. My partnership with Habitat has inspired me to set new goals and recognize that nothing is beyond reach when you have confidence.”
Besides being a milestone for the church, Ms. Kyles' home marks a milestone for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga Area as well. The home features a new design created for Habitat thanks to support from Community Impact and the Lyndhurst Foundation.
“Tiffany’s home complements the existing early 20th century homes nearby – it looks right at home,” said Habitat’s Executive Director Pete Palmer. “This home is our first home built to the Chattanooga based better built standard. When testing and third party certifications are complete we expect it to receive better built, LEED and TVA Energy Right Certifications. This home represents a new level– in terms of architecture, style, energy efficiency and quality that Habitat hopes to bring to all of our Chattanooga area projects.”
is Chattanooga’s Good Home Index, led by local architects, contractors, realtors and homeowners – working together to build value for homes in Chattanooga. We do this by providing standards and a blueprint for high performance homes that lower costs for occupants, appreciate in value because of better design and construction, and reduce the environmental impact of our houses – all with a goal of helping serve Chattanooga people, profits and planet. More information is available at www.chattanoogabetterbuilt.com.