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Habitat for Humanity International grants more than $42,000 to help with hometown’s recovery from tornado damage

AMERICUS, Ga. (Sept. 13, 2007) – In the more than six months that have passed since the March 1 tornado ripped through Americus, Habitat for Humanity International continues to assist in the recovery efforts of its hometown. Habitat will grant the remaining $42,297 of its tornado-recovery funds to three of Americus’ greatest assets – Sumter Regional Hospital Foundation, the city’s landscape and New Horizons Habitat for Humanity, the organization’s affiliate serving the greater Sumter County area.

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“Habitat’s work around the world is about creating communities and not just creating homes,” said Jim Thie, HFHI vice president and Americus site manager. “While the storm may have damaged much of our infrastructure, it did not weaken the strength of the Americus community, and the Habitat family is committed to helping our community rebuild.”

With its contribution to the City of Americus, Habitat will play a role in restoring the city’s natural beauty. The grant will help replace the landscaping in public areas damaged by the storm, primarily in the historic Oak Grove Cemetery, Joyce Myers Park and Reese Park.

“The City of Americus appreciates the outpouring support from Habitat and other community partners,” said Americus Mayor Barry Blount. “We are grateful for this support to renew the city’s landscape.”

Habitat’s contribution to Sumter Regional Hospital will support its rebuilding efforts. Since the storm, the hospital’s Department of Education has been operating out of Habitat’s Clarence Jordan Center building.

“With the help of neighbors in the Americus community like Habitat for Humanity International, Sumter Regional Hospital has made remarkable progress in our recovery efforts since the storm,” said David Seagraves, president of the hospital. “We appreciate the generous support coming from within the community.”

New Horizons Habitat for Humanity is also receiving tornado-recovery funding. The affiliate has already completed one of two Habitat houses completely destroyed by the tornado and is in the process of rebuilding the second house.

“Throughout the years, we have worked hand-in-hand with Habitat for Humanity International in this community,” said Mary Ann Crowley, New Horizons Habitat’s executive director. “This donation is one of the many ways that Habitat for Humanity International continues to help New Horizons. Their support since the March 1st tornado has been exactly what we’ve needed.”

Altogether HFHI employees and other volunteer groups, including RV Care-A-Vanners, have invested nearly 6,000 hours of service providing clean-up assistance in the wake of the tornado. Habitat has brought additional aid to the community through its partners, including the donation of computers to Sumter Disaster Recovery by Dell Inc., a dozen 20- and 25-inch commercial grade chainsaws by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and tools and materials by Lowe’s.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built more than 225,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1 million people. For more information, visit www.habitat.org.