‘It makes my heart feel good’

Highland Rim Habitat for Humanity president Terrie Quick works together with Warren County Habitat for Humanity president Steve Koelbl on a house-building project in Winchester. Quick, who has served as the local Habitat for Humanity president for several years, also volunteers her skills as a dental hygienist at a variety of community events.

Terrie Quick finds joy in helping others

“When you have more than you need, you can either build a higher fence or build a longer table,” said Terrie Quick. “I chose to build a longer table.”

With that philosophy in mind, Quick has dedicated countless hours of her time rolling up her sleeves to ensure as many people as possible have a seat at that metaphorical table.

Sometimes that means Quick can be found swinging a hammer, while on other days, she’s working to make sure the community is full of healthy smiles. Whatever she’s doing on a given day, odds are good that by the time she heads home, someone’s day will have been made a little brighter.

Quick serves as a president of Highland Rim Habitat for Humanity. The nonprofit organization helps families build and improve homes in Coffee and Franklin Counties.

A part of Habitat for Humanity International, which has more than 2,300 affiliates worldwide, the local organization has helped people become homeowners since 1992.

To fulfill its mission of building homes for low-income families, the nonprofit partners with volunteers.

“I have been involved with Habitat for Humanity for four and a half years, and three and a half years I’ve been serving as president,” Quick said.

Through Highland Rim Habitat for Humanity, Quick is currently involved with building a house in Winchester.

The house, located on Rotary Drive, is expected to be completed in a few short weeks.

“We started in July and we’re planning on dedicating this house on Dec. 14,” Quick said. “The house should be actually finished about a week prior to that.”

The new homeowner, Stephanie Newman, of Franklin County, has “three beautiful children,” Chloe, 16, Hannah, 14, and Zane, 8, said Quick.

“It worked out perfectly,” Quick said. “We already had this lot and we had this family. The children were acclimated in the Franklin County school system and doing very well.”

When the house is completed, the family will own an 1,100-square-foot home. 

“The house we are building is simple, four-bedroom, two-bath home, with living area and kitchen area that’s combined,” Quick said. “The bedrooms are small, but each of the children will have their own bedroom. Zane said this is the first time he can ever remember having his own bedroom. He’s lived with his grandmother and slept on the floor, next to his mother, or slept on a couch or loveseat. He’s very excited.”


Working together

The project couldn’t be finished without the help of volunteers, said Quick.

This month, volunteers from the Nissan North America, Inc. Decherd Plant have worked for several days on various construction projects, including trim work, painting and installing cabinets.

“We have some highly-skilled employees of Nissan that have helped us,” Quick said. “They start at 7:30 in the morning and stop at 4:30 in the afternoon. It is as if they go and clock in for their regular workday at Nissan, but instead of working at Nissan, they come here.”

Nissan has also provided the funding for the home, said Quick.

“It’s like a construction loan,” Quick said. “Nissan Corporate donates to Habitat for Humanity International, and they disperse the funds to us, according to how far we are in the process.”

Coca-Cola Bottling Works of Tullahoma has also supported the project.

“Coca-Cola Bottling Works of Tullahoma has provided all of the drinks for the volunteers, from the beginning for the entire duration,” Quick said. “They also donated five full workdays, letting their employees come here and help us.”


A history of volunteerism

Volunteering has always been part of Quick’s life.

“I do it because it makes my heart feel good,” Quick said. “I get to see how people come together, how God pulls people together to make a project happen. Just I, serving as a president, can never make all this happen. It’s great to see all the individuals make blessings happen.”

A dental hygienist by profession, Quick also donates her time when she can offer her knowledge and skills in that field.

“I volunteer through dental hygiene,” she said. “We do back-to-school clinics for children who need to have health exams and dental exams. I always go and help with those out of Manchester.”

She also lends a hand for free dental clinics. In February, she volunteered at the Tullahoma Cares event, spearheaded by Dr. Joshua Puckett. Tullahoma Cares offered free tooth extractions.  

“I was there with my sleeves rolled up, helping,” Quick said. “We were able to serve more than 200 people in our community.”

Elena Cawley may be reached at ecawley@tullahomanews.com.