“Our vision is to ignite a spirit of hope and encouragement across America and throughout all nations, beginning with our hometowns,” said founder, Chairman and CEO Kevin Jones. “It is only when we exchange our fences for bridges that the miracle of change can begin to occur.”
Hometown Heroes was created in February 1999, and its first project involved Habitat for Humanity and Torrey Homes, the builder of this year’s “Show Village” house at the International Builder’s Show.Looking back on the project, Torrey’s South Carolina Division President Jonathan Giles recalled: “Our only appropriate response, as a homebuilder, was to give back to the very community that had embraced us during our first years of business. Habitat for Humanity and Hometown Heroes was a wonderful way to do just that.”
While working on the initial Hometown Heroes project in South Carolina, Jones created a partnership with a famous local band, Hootie and the Blowfish, to generate a greater awareness of the local Habitat’s needs. Raising the funds to build the house, paying for advertising and covering other expenses was the sole responsibility of Hometown Heroes.
The local celebrity chosen for the focus of this year’s “Show Village” house at the International Builder’s Show in Atlanta is businessman and philanthropist Ted Turner (see sidebar). All proceeds from the sale of the house will go to Turner’s Captain Planet Foundation.
“We can all learn from people like Ted Turner, who gives so much to causes close to his heart,” Jones said.
Hometown Heroes has attracted an impressive national advisory board. Heroes like Millard Fuller, Habitat for Humanity’s founder and CEO, and Nyhl Henson, creator of MTV, CMT and Nickelodeon, have volunteered their time, energy and resources to see this vision become a reality in hometowns across America and around the world.
As a result of his work with Hometown Heroes, Jones has been nominated for the WYFF-TV 2000 Jefferson Award, the 2000 United Way Golden Rule Award, and the prestigious 2000 South Carolina Governor’s Volunteer of the Year Award.
A book inspired by Hometown Heroes is scheduled for publication early next year. “Finding the Hero in You” will contain short stories by celebrities and ordinary people who tell true stories of miracles and heroic acts of kindness. All proceeds will go to the Hometown Heroes program.
To learn more about Hometown Heroes, and to find out how you can participate in this program, visit www.hometownheroes.org .