Meet Ted Swisher

Trip Start Nov 26, 2010
Trip End Nov 18, 2011

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Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Thursday, February 24, 2011

    As I mentioned in the last posting, I am working with Habitat of Santa Fe, NM this week and the Executive Director here is Ted Swisher.  He met Millard Fuller, the founder of Habitat for Humanity as well as Fuller Centers for Housing, in 1969 while he was still in college.  He began working at Koinonia Farms, outside Americus Georgia,  in 1970 and was the head of construction at Koinonia Partners, which was kind of the model for Habitat.  Ted worked at Koinonia for three years.  Millard and his wife (and co-founders of both organizations) took on a missionary calling in Africa for three years from 1973-1976.  When they returned, Habitat for Humanity was formed and was based initially at Koinonia.  Once it began to expand, Ted helped to set up an office in nearby Americus, Georgia that served both as habitat offices and Millard's law offices.  From it's beginning in 1976 until 1983, there were 22 affiliates nationwide.  In 1983, Millard asked Ted to become the first US Director of Affilliates in the US.  In his time in that position, the amount of affiliates grew from 22 to 330 affillitates nationwide.  Ted credits former president Jimmy Carter, who first offered to help with Habitat in 1984, with the increase.  In 1989, Millard dispatched Ted to Australia, and Ted established the Habitat prescence in that nation until 1992.  In 1996, he resumed his old position of Director of US Affiliates.  Ted has been here in Santa Fe, (lives in Albuquerque) since 2005.
      Today was a special day here.  I had the opportunity to witness the dedication service for on the the latest Habitat homeowner families. In addition to Maria and her family, there were around 30 people crowded into the cozy new home.  Board members, family selection folks (mentors for the new homeowners) as well as regular volunteers who had worked on this home and others gathered to celebrate this new beginning for a Santa Fe family.  There was a short speech by Exec. Dir. Ted Swisher, followed by presentation of the Bible and gifts to the homeowner.  The most moving part was when Ted asked Maria if she would like to say anything.  She spoke in Spanish and her words were translated by her older daughter.  She tried in vain to hold back the tears of grattitude.  Afterwords, the guest were treated to a banquet and feast prepared by Maria.
     Tommorrow will be my last work day here- Oh boy, my favorite, hanging 12 foot long  5/8 thick drywall on ceilings, upside down and against gravity with inexperienced (some) volunteers!  But seriously, wouldn't miss it for the world-  thats all for now-    Peter
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