DOVER - Claudette Hollenbeck has already served as West River Habitat for Humanity's president. And, now, she's back for more.
She's got the gavel to prove it, too.
Having served a full three-year term in the past, Hollenbeck knows how difficult the job can be and has agreed to hold the office for one year. She officially started her new term during Thursday's annual meeting and awards dinner, when she was handed the gavel by outgoing president Jeffrey H. Teitel.
Hollenbeck said she is interested in streamlining the number of meetings the organization has. One is scheduled every month at the West Dover Congregational Church.
"I think when we're not building a house it isn't necessary to meet every month," she said after dinner had started. "I think it's putting a big strain on the board members to have to come out in the middle of the winter when it's nasty out."
She said she thinks it's a good idea to have quarterly meeting when WRHFH is not constructing houses and have the various committees meet every month and report back to her.
WRHFH board members and officers - who approved of the treasurer's report - met at Dover Town Hall, where Teitel addressed those in attendance and expressed his gratitude for being able to serve as president. Illuminated by only the natural light of the sun streaming through the windows, he quoted Ecclesiastes, which he considers the wisest and most influential book in the Old Testament.
Teitel presented a special appreciation award to former president Jerry Gorman to thank him for his service. Teitel said Gorman, who plans to move to College Park, Md., to begin a new chapter of his life, is "probably one of the nicest guys you'd ever want to meet."
"I'm sorry I have go. But but when the time is right, you've got to make a change and I'm going to do that now," he told the seated crowd after being handed his plaque. "I've really enjoyed my time here. I don't think I've given anywhere near as much to Habitat as they've given me."
Teitel planned to hand awards to Lynn Bucossi and Christopher Blake but they were unable to attend the get-together.
WRHFH, a 501(c) 3 organization, was founded in 2001 and works to provide people with housing opportunities. It dispenses loans at low or no interest to individuals that normally could not get a mortgage.
"We almost serve as a bank for people who normally wouldn't qualify as a successful candidate," he said while those in attendance began eating.
WRHFH has developed four houses - in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2011 - since it began. They were finished in and provide a home for four families, including 10 children.
Teitel said WRHFH has lacked sufficient funds to build a house this year but has done repairs on numerous structures. It costs in excess of $100,000 to build a home, he said.
Fundraising is always the difficult endeavor for any 501(c)3 organization, adding that the organization's money has come through the mortgage payments of the four Habitat families honoring their commitment.
"We try to provide a hand up, not a handout," he said.
Domenic Poli can be reached at email@example.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.