Goolsby’s ‘Team’ Awarded for Decades of Volunteer Service | Home
“Can I say just one word?” Charlene Goolsby asked as she walked into the center of the front room filled with friends, family and supporters gathered to dedicate the 25th House of Coffee County Habitat for Humanity.
“Mrs. Goolsby, you never said a single word,” replied Daniel Stephens, a member of the Coffee County Habitat for Humanity board of directors, displaying his characteristic smile. is okay, you can say 100 words. “
Stephens, who describes himself as “the oldest barn rat on our council,” said the dedication of the 25th council house would not be complete without thanking the woman who stepped down in June as president of the council. the all-volunteer organization she has served since its inception in 1997.
“I don’t remember, but just a few meetings that Miss Charlene didn’t chair,” Stephens said. “Thanks to his leadership, we went from building three or four houses to 25.
“I remember when we had no money and not only did we have no money, we had nothing,” Stephens said. “But Miss Charlene said, ‘We’re going to build a house,’ and we would start and somehow the Lord provided as she told us.
“You really never felt pressured until you attended a board meeting about two days before Thanksgiving – and you probably just laid the foundation for the house you were building – and Mrs. Goolsby was saying : “Before we go, I have to tell you that I told these kids that we would be in this house for Christmas,” Stephens said, shaking his head and smiling at the memory.
“And they always have been. She would get there. Ms. Goolsby is one of those people to whom no one will ever say ‘no’. She says, ‘Do it and do it right,’ ”Stephens said. “She adopted all the families we had. Her “family” grew 50 times because when we started helping with a house, the family became hers. “
But she didn’t do it alone, Stephens added. “When she says we’ll have this house ready by Christmas, it’s because of Eugene,” he said of Goolsby’s husband of 50 years. “He comes in at night and he makes it happen.
“Sir. Eugene’s expertise doesn’t stop at plumbing and electricity. He can do anything – and if he can’t, Miss Charlene tells him he can and he does.” Stephens said of Enterprise Man of the Year for 1999. “There’s not a house we have that a part he hasn’t touched. We couldn’t do it without him.”
“Their combined service, love, dedication and generosity kept us going and will be sorely missed,” said Stephens, visibly moved, in closing. “Mrs. Goolsby takes a step back. It’s not goodbye because we know if we call for an answer, for help, for advice, they’re going to say, ‘Sure, what- what do you want me to do? ‘ “
That’s right, Charlene Goolsby said earlier that week as she reflected on decades of volunteer service to the Ecumenical Christian Housing Program that builds quality, energy-efficient homes in partnership with low-income families.
The 1997 Business Woman of the Year was present at the first Habitat Steering Committee meeting on May 6, 1997. Elba First Baptist Church pastor, Dr. Rod Paul, was the first president. from the administration board. “The very first donation was made on December 22, 1997 by Joe Harris of Martin Colley Drug Store in Enterprise,” said Charlene Goolsby.
There was a Wiregrass Habitat in Dothan, but the people of Coffee County felt they could support a branch here, Charlene Goolsby said. “It took about two years to get affiliate status with all the paperwork required by Habitat International.
In addition to Charlene Goolsby, Billy Cotter and Stephens are the original Governing Members who still serve on the Coffee County Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors.
The first inauguration of a Coffee County residential house took place in late 2000. The house was sponsored by First Baptist Church in Enterprise. “On December 7, 1999, at a habitat board meeting, Dr. Tim Floyd of First Baptist Church in Enterprise presented a check for $ 43,614,” Charlene Goolsby said.
“This house was opened in 2001 and from there we went to Elba Island and built a house.
A third Habitat house was built in Enterprise with donations from individuals and the fourth was built with funds raised by the Sunrise Rotary Club of Enterprise. To date, six Habitat houses have been built in Elba and 19 in Enterprise.
Habitat for Humanity helps families who would not normally be able to benefit from conventional loans to become homeowners. Individuals, churches, businesses, civic groups and others who provide vital financial support and volunteer work help sell Habitat homes through non-profit mortgages. Habitat owners make down payments and sweat hours helping build their homes and those of others. At closing, they assume the mortgage on the houses.
“When I became president of the Habitat board, I never dreamed of staying there for 16 years,” she said with a smile. “But we continued to have people who really needed homes.
“I just stayed because, well, I don’t know, I just liked families. I absolutely loved all of my families, ”said Charlene Goolsby. “Especially the children. When you see a little kid who never really had a decent place to live, it makes me happy to know that I have helped that kid have a decent place to live.
“Every Habit for Humanity project is an act of faith, a miracle performed by the hearts and hands of those who believe families deserve a chance to have a simple, decent and affordable place to live,” she said. added. “Our mission is to tear down walls and build bridges. It’s about offering hope and transforming lives. It is about serving God by serving others.
Goolsby said one of his favorite homes was the Apostle Build Home initiated by the Coffee County Ministerial Association and sponsored by 10 area churches, Goolsby Plumbing and Electric and Snellgrove and Caylor Heating and Cooling. “It was fun and rewarding to work because all the different denominations came together to work on a common goal.”
Charlene Goolsby said the two things that bother her the most are the perception that Habitat was started by former President Jimmy Carter. ” This was not the case. He promoted it and gave it so much more publicity than he ever would have had, but he didn’t start it, ”she said.
The second misconception is that Habitat houses are free for the beneficiary. “They are not free. There is a mortgage. There is no profit for Habitat because it depends on volunteer work and donations, but the money generated each month from mortgage payments is used to build a Habitat house, ”she explained. “Housing is a tangible service. We are touching the walls that we are helping to raise. We feel the warmth of the tar paper as we nail the shingles. We smell the paint as we transform every room, every closet, every doorframe into a shiny new surface. Along the way, we make friends with the new owners. Their smiles, the sparkle in their eyes, the warm hugs connect us all in ways much deeper than we can even realize.
“You learn that you are really using your skills and resources to really help make a difference,” she said. “We were fortunate to have generous and loving individuals, businesses, organizations and churches who provided resources and volunteer work to build 25 homes in Coffee County.
“I would do it again,” Charlene Goolsby said, pointing out that due to health issues she is just taking a step back. “We’re not going to stop working for Habitat,” she said, shining blue eyes smiling.