Virginia Braswell is retiring on March 29 from her role as the executive director of local Habitat for Humanity after nearly 30 years of service, and local resident Jeremy Stephens has been named the successor.
Stephens has served as the Owensboro Symphony’s director of operations for the 8 years. He said that before applying for the Habitat position, he had been looking for something beyond the local art nonprofit world.
“I have been looking for a way to get involved in an organization that has a different type of impact in our local area and community,” Stephens said.
While he has training in the art world, Stephens isn’t unfamiliar with the work that Habitat for Humanity does for their communities. He said he worked with the Calloway County chapter of the organization while in college.
After graduating college, Stephens saw himself develop into one of the people who could use the help from the organization.
“I was that person straight out of college, married with a kid and on one income, and it means something special to me because I have been that person in the past,” Stephens said. “So to be able to be involved in an organization that does that for not just a person, but a family, that means a lot.”
Braswell noted that stepping away from the position is hard but crucial as times are changing. She said she enjoyed the physical works of the position, but the switch to an electronic and digital process for so many aspects made the job less enjoyable for her.
Braswell said Stephens embodies the ability to be able to adapt to the times. Because of his background, community involvement and other attributes, she feels he is a great fit for the position.
Stephens said he sees the organization developing greatly over the next few years and continuing to build upon the foundation that Braswell has already laid.
“I do feel passionate about the mission and the contribution that this organization makes to our community. I feel like if the passion is there, then you’ll find a way and that’s my goal,” he said.
Stephens will started with the organization on Feb. 7 and will assume the executive director when Braswell officially resigns on March 29.
“So I get two months with the person that’s done it for [almost 30] years and I have to think a lot of folks don’t have that luxury,” Stephens said. “It’ll be a lot of work, but it’ll be worth it. And I’m sure that the fulfilling part of that is probably what Virginia has experienced.”