Habitat for Humanity announced yesterday the creation of an endowment fund in memory of volunteer Pat Smith. The fund's goal is to raise $1 million.
"The intent is to support the work Pat did in his life for other people," said Tom Little, a member of the Lexington Habitat for Humanity's board of directors executive committee.
Money from the Pat Smith Habitat Endowment Fund will be used to build Habitat houses in Lexington and internationally, especially in Ghana; to support Habitat's disaster relief project; and to send Lexington volunteers to work on Habitat builds globally.
"We can't replace Pat, but we can fund other people to do some of the same work," Little said. Smith made such a difference in the lives of people in this community, "We're going to keep his name alive for a long, long time," he said.
Fund-raising has not started, but already $15,000 has been collected, "mainly from people who came to the visitation or dropped checks off at the house," said Dennis Pike, Lexington Habitat board member.
The news conference was in a vacant store space at 420 Southland Drive that is being remodeled to become the second ReStore in Lexington. Scheduled to open in early October, the store will sell donated appliances, building materials, household items, computers, electronics and used furniture. It will be dedicated in memory of Smith.
The city's other ReStore (formerly Renovation Station) is at 1260 Industry Road.
The Catholic Parishes of Lexington's 2006 Habitat build, to begin Friday on North Upper Street, also will be dedicated in Smith's memory, Little said.
When Smith was named Habitat for Humanity International's Volunteer of the Year in 2004 in recognition of his work with Habitat, including building houses in West Africa, he received a $10,000 award. Yesterday, Lyle Hanna said Smith put that money into a fund to send Lexington staff members on international assignments.
"Pat wanted local people to get the flavor of what it means to help people who are so poor, they have absolutely nothing. Children make toys out of mud," he said. But the people's smiles are so wonderful, "They capture you in a heartbeat. That was the joy Pat helped share with all of us," said Hanna, chairman of the Habitat International global leadership council.
That was why the Habitat directors thought it important that part of the endowment be spent on sending Lexingtonians on international builds, Hanna said.
Attending the news conference were Smith's wife, Jean, and his children, Brian and Jennifer Smith. Son-in-law Steve Smith said the family wanted to "deeply thank" the community for "its outpouring of emotion that has been tremendous and has helped us get through these tough times."
If you want to help To donate to Habitat for Humanity's Pat Smith Endowment, in memory of the volunteer who died on Comair Flight 5191:
Make your check out to Lexington Habitat for Humanity and mail it to 1260 Industry Road, Lexington, Ky. 40505.
Indicate the donation is for the Pat Smith Endowment.