27 Oct Volunteer Spotlight on Milton Lawrence
By LowCountry Habitat Volunteer, Nikki Finkelstein-Blair
Milton Lawrence served the Beaufort community with LowCountry Habitat for 28 years before recently retiring and moving to Virginia. Milt began “making sawdust” with Habitat when he responded to a general call for volunteers by the United Way; though not a builder by trade, he gained experience working on Beaufort-area Habitat homes, and eventually came to work for LowCountry Habitat as Construction Supervisor. When he relocated to Dataw Island, Milt donated his woodworking tools to LowCountry Habitat and founded the Beaufort Collection of porch furniture, built by volunteers from donated materials. He managed the production of this line of locally-made deck chairs, rockers, dining sets, and porch swings until his retirement in August 2017.
Over nearly three decades, Milt witnessed Habitat’s direct impact on Beaufort. Milt said that “rather than ignore or complain about the problem of poverty housing… Habitat provides the vehicle to do something about it.” He said that Habitat-sponsored events like the Birdhouse Auction and Upcycled Art Auction, High on the Hog BBQ events, and Lego Builds “help the community understand the need for practical help… not just for financial donations.”
From his experience with community-based builds, Milt realized that although a house build may only involve 100 people in hands-on work, the entire community is invited to join in Habitat’s mission, to better understand the problem of substandard housing, and to learn the many ways they can help. To date, LowCountry Habitat has built or rehabbed 47 homes in Beaufort County, providing safe, affordable housing for more than 60 adults and 120 children. As Milt said, “the end result is a decent, affordable home for families who partner with Habitat. It is a wonderful blessing to be able to see a tangible result right in your community.”
When she learned of Milt’s retirement, fellow volunteer Susie Gombocz said “His contributions to our cause are too numerous to mention and all done with a humble and generous spirit. Think of the hundreds of people whose lives have been touched by this generosity.” This is every volunteer’s opportunity: to contribute, directly and indirectly, to improving the lives of the families–the neighbors–who share life together in the Lowcountry.
Are you ready to join the Habitat Volunteer Team? LowCountry Habitat hosts volunteer orientation the second Saturday of every month at their office located at 616 Parris Island Gateway. It takes just an hour to sign up to help make a difference in our community. For additional questions or to donate to LowCountry Habitat for Humanity, please contact the office at 843-522-3500 or visit www.lowcountryhabitat.org.