Sunday, February 6, 2011

Doing is Better than Talking

On Friday evening, Andrea and I went to the Citizen of the Year Banquet to help in honouring Frank Moore. I've known Frank for about ten years, since my time on the Habitat for Humanity Board, when he was still president of that board. He was the driving force behind bringing Habitat to Prince Albert, and spent several years just getting the organization going, before any houses could be built. The surprising thing is that it's taken this long for him to be recognized by the city for his efforts.

A few things crossed my mind as I listened to the various tributes to Frank. First was that he didn't rush into anything. He certainly believed that Habitat was an organization that could help Prince Albert, but he made sure that the necessary groundwork of setting up the organization and ensuring that it would succeed, was solid and complete before taking the first visible step of starting the construction of the first house. He made sure that we walked before we tried to run.

Second, he made it very clear that it was the organization that was the reason for the success, not just him. He pointed out others in the audience who were at the initial meeting to discuss the concept, and was very gracious in sharing the credit for all that Habitat has accomplished. It's no wonder that so many people, including me, enjoy working with Frank - he's a very quiet and humble guy who refuses to take all the credit, even though it was quite evident that it was his vision and determination that have made Habitat what it is.

Third, he did this to make Prince Albert a better place to live for less fortunate people, by figuring out a way that more people can own their own homes, a basic necessity of life. So often it seems that the focus of the city is on the extras that make life nicer for a few. Frank put his energy into making changes that didn't benefit him personally, but that made life better for people who have faced challenges that most of us have been fortunate enough never to have to deal with.

It's humbling, really, to realize that, through his work with Habitat, Frank has made a bigger difference in tackling housing issues than city council, despite all our committees and conferences. He's done it, not by talking and studying and drafting reports, but by organizing and recruiting an ever-expanding group of people to take action, and by being part of that action. So far, that's resulted in eight houses, I believe. Obviously, we still have housing issues in the city - it was mentioned that more than sixty families have applied for the next house - but it's eight more families in their own homes than would otherwise be the case.

Frank more than deserved this award. What a great example he provides for the rest of us.

"Action speaks louder than words, but not nearly as often." - Mark Twain

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