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New director looking forward to Habitat’s exciting projects

| February 7, 2014
New director: Brittleigh Smith is taking over for Sue Hardesty as executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Coshocton County. Habitat has many exciting projects coming up including the building of house number 14, the expansion of the ReStore and the annual home and lifestyle show. Beacon photo by Josie Sellers

New director: Brittleigh Smith is taking over for Sue Hardesty as executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Coshocton County. Habitat has many exciting projects coming up including the building of house number 14, the expansion of the ReStore and the annual home and lifestyle show. Beacon photo by Josie Sellers

COSHOCTON – Brittleigh Smith was looking for a job that is more than a career and she has found that with Habitat for Humanity of Coshocton County.

“I wanted to make a difference in a community and Coshocton means a lot to me so I’m glad to be back,” she said.

Smith, a graduate of River View High School, is the new executive director of Habitat for Humanity. She was hired Jan. 20, and is currently being trained by former director Sue Hardesty.

“I’m learning a ton,” Smith said. “Sue is a wealth of knowledge and is unbelievably helpful.”

She is currently living in Millersburg, but is looking forward to moving back to Coshocton County and using her banking experience to help Habitat for Humanity grow.

“I have five years of banking experience and that includes everything from lending to management,” Smith said. “I’m a big numbers person.”

Some of her banking experience was also in the area.

“I think it will help that I have knowledge of the community and businesses here,” she said.

The fact that she is in her mid 20s also will help Smith reach the younger generation.

“You see a lot of people my age leave Coshocton County and come back,” she said. “I’d like to get my friends and people our age involved in Habitat. I’m also definitely looking at ways to use social media to share our information.”

Habitat for Humanity relies heavily on the help of volunteers to build housing for low income families.

“These houses aren’t given away,” Hardesty said. “The families have to pay a $450 down payment and a monthly mortgage with no interest.”

The Coshocton County affiliate of the organization was founded in 1999 and received its nonprofit status in 2001. Over the years, 13 houses have been completed and the 14th is currently being built.

Hardesty has been a big part of Habitat for Humanity’s work in the community. She has been a part of the organization for 11 ½ years.

“When I was the president in 2008 we had no office or public location,” Hardesty said. “I searched out options and Tom Sutton offered us our current location for a minimal rent amount. We were able to get computer technology through grants and our volunteers were able to take everything (related to Habitat) from their homes and put it into an office space.”

Getting the ReStore up and going in 2010 was another highlight of Hardesty’s time with Habitat for Humanity. It features everything from used furniture to building supplies at reasonable prices.

“We’ve been blessed with it,” she said.

The ReStore is currently in the process of moving to a bigger location on Pine Street in the former location of Gator’s Sports Pub.

“We are excited to be going there because it gives us room to expand and hopefully more exposure,” Hardesty said. “We are very grateful for Joel Jumper of Coshocton Lumber who let us utilize our current space (on Walnut Street). Coshocton Lumber has been a great supporter of Habitat for Humanity.”

Another partnership that formed over the years was one with the Coshocton County Career Center’s building trades program.

“Having them work on our houses has been a phenomenal educational tool for the students and a great way for us to get our houses framed,” Hardesty said.

She is moving away from the area for personal and family reasons, but will greatly miss everyone involved in Habitat.

“It’s going to be difficult to walk away from,” Hardesty said. “The passion of our volunteers is amazing. They don’t do it for recognition. They do it from the heart.”

She, however, knows she is leaving the organization in good hands.

“I’m looking very forward to being hands-on and getting my family involved in the building process,” Smith said. “I also can’t wait for families to see their house for the first time. I’m excited to be part of that.”

There are also several other events for Smith to look forward to. Another Women’s Build is being planned for this spring, volunteers will be gathered together to build a 10 x 20 shed for the ReStore at its new location and the annual home and lifestyle show is being planned for Saturday and Sunday, March 8-9, at the Coshocton County Career Center. Anyone interested in being a vendor at the show or learning more about volunteer opportunities is welcome to call Habitat for Humanity at 623-2764.

“I really want to see our affiliate of Habitat grow and I believe we have room to do that,” Smith said.

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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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