Posted: January 11, 2008 in Family and Friends


Hillary took the picture above of me with two of the coolest people around after our Governance Committee meeting in Biloxi for our Habitat for Humanity affiliate this afternoon.

I began Habitat for Humanity of Jackson County in early 2001, and Nicole Grundel came on board soon afterwards. She has been an integral part ever since. In fact, if there were an MVP from the Jackson County affiliate over the years of its existence, it would have to be Nicole. She was the glue that made everything happen. When term limits led to my exit from the board in 2006, Nicole stayed on and helped navigate the merger with the Harrison County affiliate to form Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. HFHMGC is now the largest affiliate in the United States.

Chris Monforton is at the helm of HFHMGC, and he was made for the job. It takes everyone who meets him about two seconds to figure that out. I first met Chris shortly after Hurricane Katrina when he came to the Coast on assignment from Habitat for Humanity International. He first served as a consultant to the affiliates throughout our region. He was then hired as the Executive Director of the Harrison County affiliate, and finally, after the merger, he was hired as the Chief Executive Officer of HFHMGC. He has worked non-stop ever since.

There are lots of big things happening with our affiliate. The highlight of 2008 promises to be in May when we are scheduled to host the Jimmy Carter Work Project. This is a HUGE event, and I am SO excited about being a part of it. That my affiliate will host this event just before I move away is simply too cool for words.

But back to Nicole and Chris.

If you don’t mind a little advice from me, let me offer some up for the taking: volunteer in your community. There are 1000s of reasons why, but I’ll give you two that are plenty all by themselves. Meeting people like Nicole and Chris.

I’m not an attorney yet, but with that, I’ll rest my case anyway.

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