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Rewarding moments with Habitat for Humanity

Robert Houk • Jan 27, 2019 at 11:04 AM

Johnson City resident Trish Patterson serves as executive director of Holston Habitat for Humanity. The Kingsport-based organization relies on volunteer labor and contributions of money and materials to partner to build affordable houses for families with limited financial resources in the region.

Fast Facts

Dog or cat person: “Dog.”

Favorite dessert: “Anything chocolate.”

Best advice you've ever received: “Never, never, never give up when the cause is just.”

How do you describe your job to family and friends?

I have the unique opportunity of working with the local Habitat for Humanity team of 1,400 dedicated volunteers and 24 committed staff to advocate for and to provide affordable housing in Northeast Tennessee.

My focus is to secure the resources that enable this team to build and sell 6 to 8 new Habitat homes and repair another 6 to 10 homes each year, to qualify Habitat families, to operate two ReStores and to manage 125 mortgages.

What's the most rewarding part of your day?

On a daily basis, I enjoy seeing what the Habitat team has accomplished for this ministry, whether they have welcomed new applicants into the Habitat program, or grown ReStore sales, or recruited new volunteers, or made progress on a Habitat construction site.

But seeing the construction site supervisor place the keys of their new Habitat home into the hands of the homebuyers during the Habitat Home Dedication ceremony remains the most rewarding moment for me, and I think, for the entire Holston Habitat team.

What led you to this work?

Having spent 10 years as a college professor in Chattanooga, I changed career direction to nonprofit management when our family moved to Johnson City in 2002. A call from Dr. Sally Lee led me to consider applying for a newly created position with Holston Habitat for Humanity in 2014.

Then, following the retirement of Holston Habitat’s past director, the board offered me this opportunity to provide leadership and I began as Holston Habitat’s executive director in May 2018.

Who has been the greatest influence on your life?

My husband. After 40 years of marriage and raising three strong-willed children together, Michael’s sense of humor, tenacity and intelligence continue to challenge and inspire me. He helps me to enjoy, to think and to improve every day.

How do you relieve stress?

Walking outdoors. My goal is to walk or hike 25 miles each week.

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