By Chris Johnson
Director of communications
A couple of weeks ago, I began to call leaders of our covenant partners around the United States and just kind of check in to see what’s going on here and there. This week, I’ve been in touch with Neil Folks in Craig, Colo., and Anne Catherine Murray in Augusta, Ga.
Anne leads FCH Augusta-Harrisburg. Although I was disappointed this Anne Murray didn’t sing "Shadows in the Moonlight," I quickly became a fan of this Anne Murray, too. She also works full-time for Flywheel, a company established in Augusta "with the belief that historic structures, with imagination and care, could be repurposed and given a new lease on life." I suggest you visit their website and browse the innovative company’s work.
With Anne at the helm, Augusta-Harrisburg FCH is naturally innovative and very open to new ways of doing things. Their focus right now is on the Harrisburg neighborhood, an old mill village.
The group has almost completed its first house in the Harrisburg area, one that is fortunately just across from a brand new Kroc Center that will be a hub of community support groups.
Augusta-Harrisburg’s "Turn Back the Block" program focuses on rehabilitation projects. They don’t focus on new homes or small repair projects. Instead, they work to sort of bring existing homes and a community back to life. They also team up with groups such as the Georgia Conservancy and the Lifelong Communities Initiative.
Just a year and a half old, Augusta-Harrisburg FCH hopes to have its first home dedication in October. On Sept. 10, "Turn Back the Block" will have a block party to boost support for its work in the area. Anne sees Harrisburg as one of those communities that just needs a little push to get it on the cusp of greatness once again.
Folks is president of the Moffat County Fuller Center and recently played host to members of the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure team for a work project. Moffat County is in the process of tearing down an old rooming house and will build a new home in its place. "We hope to have it torn down within a month," Neil said. The project ran into a delay because of a required asbestos cleanup.
But Folks and folks in Moffat County are pressing ahead and making progress.
Perhaps more than ever, we need to take a close look at what our partners around the nation are doing. Each seems to have its own set of strengths and opportunities and is a little different than the others, and there’s so much we can all learn from our differences.
If there is an event coming up with your covenant partner, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how I can help you spread the word about your good work!