Heart and excitement seen in new Habitat for Humanity executive director


By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 11:29 am on Thursday, April 18, 2013

Brian Greene is the new Montcalm County Habitat for Humanity executive director. His first day on the job was Monday. — Daily News/Kelli Ameling

GREENVILLE — It was Brian Greene’s heart and excitement for the job that won over the committee that named him executive director of Montcalm County Habitat for Humanity.

“He expressed a real heart for helping people, which is what Habitat is all about,” said Salle Johnson, interim executive director of Habitat for Humanity.

Johnson said a committee consisting of six people narrowed the search for executive director down to six candidates. She noted although all the candidates were able to fulfill the duties of the job, Greene’s personality, excitement and background is what put him over the top.

Johnson, along with Bob Johnson, took over operations at Habitat for Humanity after Mary Theresa “Mo” Beach died in December at the Meijer Heart Center in Grand Rapids.

Beach became executive director in 2006 after years of volunteering with Habitat for Humanity.

“Although it has been difficult to say goodbye under the circumstances, we are excited and happy to have Greene in the position,” Johnson said.

In his new position, Greene wants to reach out to families all across the county and help in ways he is able to through Habitat for Humanity.

“About 20 percent of residents are living in poverty,” Greene said. “There is a need for basic, clean and descent shelter.”

Greene, who started his new job on Monday, is a Greenville city councilman and planning commission member. He said getting awareness out about how Habitat for Humanity can help people in need and what the organization does is one of his top goals.

Not only does the organization build homes for people willing to put their own “sweat equity” into the project, but, he said there are programs to help those living paycheck to paycheck who might not have the funds to fix items such as the water heater when it is no longer working.

“There are many people hanging by a thread and don’t know where to turn,” Greene said, adding he wants to help those people.

Some of Greene’s jobs as executive director include everything from paying bills to writing grants, finding volunteers, meeting with groups and communicating with the board of directors.

“All of the board of directors have their hearts in the organization,” Greene said. “I feel blessed coming into this position because, if I have a question, there is a wealth of information or an answer to my questions a phone call away.”

Volunteers, he said, is something Habitat could not function without.

“We have a super group of people that help out on a daily basis and never get the recognition they truly deserve,” Greene said. “When you see people working at a Habitat house, or see our trailer at a house building a ramp for a disabled homeowner, people need to realize that everyone of these workers are unpaid and volunteering their time and talents.”

Greene said churches, residents and other organizations also help to make the job easier by providing meals to the volunteers at the worksites.

Through his background in the military, experience as an elected official and faith in God, he looks forward to helping those in need, not just in Greenville, but throughout the county.

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