Legacy Build: The Maxwell House

The following article is a special feature from the 2009 Millard Fuller Legacy Build in Lanett, Ala. It’s a tribute to some Fuller Center heroes. Fuller Center for Housing sadly announces that Art Maxwell has passed away since this article. His passing was two years to the day of Millard Fuller’s; February 3, 2011.

by Lise Greene

Glenn Maxwell was House Captain for the Fuller Center for Housing Greater Blessings renovation project #9 in Lanett, Ala. and the two Crew Leaders were his brothers. Marthena Floyd owns the house, but it became known affectionately as the Maxwell House.

As a retired carpenter, Glenn Maxwell is comfortable with a hammer in his hand and experienced in the Fuller Center philosophy. But he also has his own life philosophy: "Be good to everyone and do what the good Lord put you on the earth for."

So what was Glenn put here for? He’s open to finding that out every day. His adventures run the gamut – being on all seven continents, carrying the Olympic torch in 1996, and surviving heart surgery two years ago.

Seventeen years ago, Glenn started volunteering as a building supervisor with the Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Bellaire, Ohio. His wife Catherine is the treasurer. Somewhere between the first and the 19th house, Millard Fuller stayed with the Maxwells for three days.

"We became buddies," said Glenn, 74, who went on to serve with Millard on 11 Jimmy Carter Work Projects throughout the country and overseas. When Millard founded the Fuller Center for Housing, Glenn didn’t switch his affiliation – he simply added FCH to his volunteer schedule.

Service is central in the Maxwell family, and Glenn recruited his brother Art to the cause. These men don’t stay put for long, and locating Art for a chat was a challenge. Someone said, "All you’ve gotta do is listen, and you’ll find him!"

When he was found, Art, 72, noted that he was already involved in housing as a realtor from Chesterfield County, Va. In 2001, Art and his Korean-born wife, Hui Kyong, joined brother Glenn and other family members on the Jimmy Carter Work Project team in South Korea. Hui Kyong’s friends were happy tour guides for their American guests. Since then, Art has participated in two more international projects and worked at U.S. sites. The Fuller Center for Housing sadly announces that Art Maxwell lost his battle with cancer and passed away February 3, 2011. He will be remembered fondly by those he served along side.

"We’re doing a good week’s work here in Lanett," he said modestly.

Tracking down the third brother, Willie, wasn’t easy, either. "Come on, we got work to do!" He disappeared with a smile around a corner of the house. The next sighting of Willie was up on a ladder. "You’ve gotta follow me up here if you wanna talk!"

Willie, 69, is a retired coal miner who lives with his wife Naomi in Missouri City, Texas. All three brothers had helped their dad with home construction projects since "forever" and, more recently, had traveled twice together to build in Shreveport, La. Home repair is Willie’s hobby, and he wasn’t surprised when Glenn called him with a new request: "Brother, you comin’ with us to Alabama?"

Willie didn’t have to think long about it. "They’d be in trouble if I didn’t come, ’cause I got the ladders, compressor, nail guns, saws, and everything!"

He took a moment to ponder in a different direction. "My name is Willard, but they call me Willie. So how come they didn’t call Millard Fuller – Millie?"

Look for the Maxwell trio at the 2010 Millard Fuller Legacy Build in Indianapolis. The Maxwell brothers – good to the last drop … of the hammer.

Read more stories and watch videos from the 2009 Millard Fuller Legacy Build.

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