Charity Begins With “Home”
Charity Begins With “Home” Through Sea Island Habitat, Sales Executive Gordon Hillock gives back.
In his lifetime, Gordon Hillock has called many places “home.” Raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, he made his way down to Florida in early adulthood. Later, a foray into real estate development led him to Puerto Rico for a time. Since 1979, however, he’s made South Carolina his residence, where he and his wife, Jeannie, a native Charlestonian, raised three children on Kiawah. Over the course of forty years as a Sales Executive with Kiawah Island Real Estate, Gordon has introduced countless families to their new Kiawah homes. His love of the Island’s inimitable natural beauty and its mindful, long-term development plan make him a passionate advocate for the Kiawah lifestyle. It’s his deep understanding of the importance of “home,” however, that makes him a notable contributor to South Carolina’s most vulnerable residents.
For nearly four decades, Gordon has given his extra time and talents to serving Sea Island Habitat. The second oldest affiliate of the global non-profit “Habitat for Humanity,” the Sea Island chapter provides affordable housing and invaluable homeownership skills to local low-income families. Gordon’s volunteer work began when one of his earliest clients, the Membership Drive Director for the organization, encouraged him to explore the charity. Impressed with the goals and far-reaching benefits of the non-profit, Gordon and Jeannie signed on with great enthusiasm. “Being in Real Estate, it had a comfortable feel for me,” Gordon explains. “I know what it means to find homes for families; homes that are a comfortable fit. It becomes a very important foundation to the family experience.” Habitat for Humanity was launched with support from President Jimmy Carter in the 1970s. The organization works in partnership with families to build better lives for themselves and their children. Since its inception, Habitat has expanded astronomically, and its efforts have benefitted nearly 1,400 communities throughout the U.S. Today, its international reach has helped more than 13 million people secure safe and affordable shelter. Habitat’s mission, though, extends well beyond home building, ensuring that new residents are prepared for the responsibilities that accompany homeownership. In addition to building houses for deserving families, Gordon explains, the organization, “makes them more affordable and trains residents on how to manage funds and maintain their homes.”
Training includes everything from understanding property taxes to basic home upkeep.
“It just gives them a leg up, a helping hand,” Gordon says, “It’s an education in things that they may not have understood before.” For his part, Gordon has helped in the building of four complete homes and has purchased two vans — necessary for volunteers to carry out their daily work. In return, it seems, Gordon is rewarded with knowing he’s making a profound difference in a world beyond his own.
“The families that I’ve been fortunate enough to meet are so appreciative and energized and their whole lives change when their children are safe and in good homes,” he explains, “They have a sense of security and togetherness. It means a lot.” For more information on Habitat for Humanity, please visit: https://www.habitat.org