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Legacy Leader Nadine Boone boosts affiliate’s awareness

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (Feb. 26, 2007) In her gray suit and black pumps, Nadine Boone is not the typical Habitat for Humanity volunteer. As an over-50 Disaster Corps Legacy Leader (she barely met the age requirement), Boone brings business and marketing savvy to Hattiesburg Area Habitat for Humanity that is challenged to reach out to hurricane-affected families.

A former real estate agent, Boone took a leave of absence from her job in the business loan section of the Small Business Administration in Washington, D.C., to volunteer for a two-week assignment in small-town Hattiesburg. The television coverage of the response to Hurricane Katrina was distressing and made her want to do something to help, she said.

Boone’s odyssey began in July of last year, when she saw a newspaper article asking for volunteers to apply for two weeks of training and short-term deployment to the Gulf Coast. She was one of 30 in the first of four classes of the Legacy Leadership Institute who trained at the University of Maryland. Habitat for Humanity disaster response staff were part of the team of trainers.

With Michele Galloway, a former board member who is now the family selection coordinator, Boone has spread the word about HFH Hattiesburg’s commitment to housing families in need of decent shelter. For maximum impact, Boone and Galloway started with a list of 200-plus churches.

“Every one we called said, ‘yes, come by,’” said Boone. “They all want to know what Habitat is doing, how people can apply and how they can help.”

Galloway and Boone also visited community and regional officials, other nonprofits and government agencies. They expect to get referrals from Housing Alternatives, an affordable housing builder that builds for families who make 80 percent of median income, also Section 8 and public housing.

“Nadine is a great lady, very dedicated and with a lot of energy. Having her here has really given us a boost,” said Hattiesburg Habitat executive director Ken Wooden.

“It has been a great experience, I’m hooked,” said Boone. “In only two weeks, we’ve had some good successes and we’ve got the wheels in motion for a lot more. Everyone we’ve talked to has embraced what Habitat is doing and like me, they want to help.”