Habitat electrical crew powers down

Susan EspirituFountain City

After decades of volunteer service, the Knoxville Habitat for Humanity electrical crew is powering down. The change is necessary because of federal requirements that only licensed electricians work on Habitat homes.

Habitat for Humanity is an international nonprofit founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller, with the mission of building and providing affordable housing for people in need.

Knoxville Habitat was founded not long after, in 1985, specifically focusing on serving in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Over the years, Knoxville Habitat has partnered with sponsors, families and volunteers to build and repair homes for more than 700 families.

The volunteer component has been a critical factor to construction of the Habitat homes. None more so than the Habitat electrical crew. I am mentioning two in Bill Whitehead and Danny Mitchell specifically in this article, but there are so many that are being left unnamed.

Not long after the inception of Knoxville Habitat, Bill Whitehead, a member of Fountain City Presbyterian Church, decided he could help by forming the Habitat electrical crew. He bought the trailer used to haul the equipment and supplies and it carried the initials BMW which, according to the locals, stood for Bill and Myrtle Whitehead.

Another legend of the electrical crew, Danny Mitchell, the master electrician who has been the team leader for 18 years, recently retired from Knoxville Habitat.

The crew has worked on most of the houses built by Knoxville Habitat. Volunteers have come from many walks of life including retired licensed electricians, medical doctors, school teachers, KUB executives, carpenters and even volunteers from Smoky Mountain hiking clubs.

Now, with the new rules, the local Habitat electrical crew is disbanding. But I know these hearts will be serving in other capacities in their communities.

All of us have a story and I want to tell yours! Send them to susan@knoxtntoday.com


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