Directors Corner: Hail & Farewell
The most famous words of the Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus, “Hail and Farewell” were written as he mourns the much too soon passing of his brother. In Latin the phrase is: “ave atque vale” translating into a more modern meaning of: “I salute you…and goodbye.”
On July 5th the Hickory community learned of the death beloved attorney and community leader, Charles Dennis Dixon. When I learned of his death, this poem came to mind, with a simplistic, solemn mourning of a friend’s passing.
I first met Charlie years ago at 1st Presbyterian Church in Hickory where he had an active role as an elder on the session and chair of numerous committees. Where I got to know him was on the Habitat job site as he helped roof a shed and later pray with a new homeowner at a dedication. Last summer he helped with the construction of the first Apostle’s House in Habitat’s Northstone community. He was the “assistant to the saw man” working hard throughout the hot, muggy morning.
It was at Charlie’s coaching that Habitat for Humanity of Catawba Valley has launched Habitat Repairs!, a home repairs program for low income, disabled and elderly homeowners throughout Catawba County. His vision of Habitat doing “something big” to celebrate the affiliate’s 30th year evolved into the “fix-up program” as he called it. Charlie was passionate about rallying Habitat donors and volunteers to help the many existing homeowners in need of repairs.
The campaign’s tag line: “We’re Fixin’ to Help” is a nod and a wink to Charlie’s dedication to launching this new mission.
In February a few days before Charlie suffered a stroke, he called me late on a Friday afternoon with “a couple ideas about this campaign that I want to run by you.” Over the last year, Charlie and I had many, many conversations where he gave me ideas, and I kept notes. But that day as we ended the call, I thought to myself, I hope he will be around throughout the campaign. He was a joy, a challenge and the best person I can imagine to have on your side.
Hail and Farewell Charlie. I salute you…and good bye.
By Mitzi Gellman, Executive Director