Habitat board eliminates director's position to cut costs

Habitat board eliminates director's position to cut costs

DANVILLE — Habitat for Humanity of Danville will continue to build two or three affordable houses each year, but it will do so without an executive director for the time being.

The chapter's board of directors recently voted to eliminate the position, President Erich Hannah said Wednesday. The salaried position had been held by John Graves for several years.

"It was strictly an economic decision," Hannah said, adding the decision was not a reflection of Graves' performance. "We brought him in to grow, but then the economy turned south on us."

Hannah declined to say what the director's salary was. But he said that money will be put toward house-building projects.

"Right now, we think that's a better way to serve the community," he said.

The local chapter has been building houses for qualified families in the Danville area since it was established in 1986.

This year, the organization is building the group's 49th home at 921 Chandler St. for Navy veteran Sean Shields, who was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident a couple of years ago. Officials hope to turn over the keys to the handicapped-accessible home to Shields by the end of the year.

The organization, with the help of local police, fire, ambulance and military personnel, also built the shell of its 50th home at 1109 Robinson for single mother Kimberly Bryant and her two sons on Patriot Day in remembrance of the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Officials hope to complete that project next spring.

In addition, the group is wrapping up the renovation of its administrative offices on Walnut Street, which served as Danville's No. 2 fire station long ago.

Hannah pointed out that the organization has functioned without a paid director before. He said board members will step up to cover the duties Graves performed, which consisted mainly of fundraising, public relations and administration.

A core group of volunteers will continue to build the homes.