From the Desk of Jim Morris, President & CEO
“Habitat has provided me more in the last 23 years than I provided as a Tiger volunteer.” Al Clark, long-time Tiger Team volunteer. Pictured below with his first volunteer T-shirt, which is also the first Tiger Team T-shirt from 1995.
Al Clark volunteered with Habitat for 23+ years and in late April at the age of 85, he passed away. Many people cross your path in your professional and personal life. Tall and lean with a white beard and handlebar mustache, Al was one of those individuals that no matter how busy my day may be, I simply loved to stop and listen to his stories of his involvement with our mission.
He was more reflective than usual on the day he shared his statement with me about his time volunteering after retirement. He said his weekly Habitat volunteering gave him purpose and created in him a quality of life that he saw disappear in many of his peers who did not have that after retirement. It was a simple, seemingly paradoxical but profound statement. Al had personally affected hundreds of families during his volunteer time. He was a pillar in our work for 23 of the 30 years in existence. Yet, he felt that Habitat gave more to him than he did to it.
I often comment that when you strip away the complexity of our work, our role of facilitating neighbor helping neighbor is a simple privilege to witness. Every week, I see firsthand the display of Jesus’s second greatest commandment to love your neighbor as yourself in the work of thousands of individuals. Our Tiger Team of 60+ mostly retired men and women that Al was a part of volunteering weekly routinely inspire me, but Al’s words had a particular impact on me during that lunch.
Jesus also said in Mathew 10:39 (MSG translation) that “if your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.” This is what struck me the most. I won’t judge those that pursue a life of retirement where rest and relaxation and material possession are the predominant aspirations, but Al and the rest of the Tiger Team are the model I want to pursue both now and in retirement.
If you want to act on Al’s wisdom and Jesus’s teaching, we welcome you to become a part of our Tiger volunteer family or engage in a myriad of other missional work out there that inspires you. Contact our volunteer team to learn more.