It was nearly two years ago that The Fuller Center acquired a dynamic duo of volunteer leaders in a package deal as engineers Melissa Merrill and Brett Safran came to Americus to help further the cause of affordable housing through The Fuller Center for Housing’s headquarters.
Merrill came to lead the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure, while Safran took over the Americus-Sumter Fuller Center, which is based within The Fuller Center’s international headquarters building.
While Merrill is on the road leading the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure on its 3,600-mile journey from Atlantic City to Astoria, Oregon, Safran is still in Americus, leading Toolie’s Birthday Blitz Build. After it ends Friday, he’ll be officially handing the reins of the Americus-Sumter covenant partner to Kirk Lyman-Barner and joining the Bicycle Adventure in Ohio.
While he has participated in multiple Bicycle Adventures as a cyclist, this time he’ll be driving the support van from Cleveland to Astoria. When the Adventure is complete, he will be looking to return to the engineering world — though he hopes it will be in an area where there is a Fuller Center covenant partner so that he can stay involved as a volunteer.
“I had a great experience,” Safran said of his stint leading Americus-Sumter. “I feel like we really made a difference here, did a lot of good work, made a bunch of new friends and learned a lot — not only about construction but also about working with people and how to work as a team.”
Safran is known for quietly going about his business and getting the job done, Fuller Center President David Snell said.
“Brett is a great servant leader,” Snell said. “He just quietly goes about getting the job done and works as hard as anybody I’ve ever met. He gets up early, stays up late and works until the job is done. He’s thoughtful, has a good education and is a smart kid, so he’s able to pull everything together. Here’s somebody who’s never built a house who is spending a week building a house. He’s just done it by sheer perseverance. He’s really a remarkable young man.”
Both Safran and Snell believe that the Americus-Sumter Fuller Center is in outstanding shape and poised to have an excellent Millard Fuller Legacy Build next year in Sumter County.
“I think we’ve got a strong board and a bunch of new people in, and we’ve got a lot of good experience the last year and a half with this build, another house we’ve built and a lot of Greater Blessing projects,” Safran said. “We really had a chance to get a bunch of trial runs for the big Legacy Build next year. I think we’ve got some good people here.”