Habitat for Humanity
A special presentation of a 2001 Albert Schweitzer Award of Excellence was made to Habitat for Humanity and its founder, Millard Fuller, at a celebrative “Habitation Night” held on the campus of Chapman University on October 26, 2001. At that event Millard Fuller gave an inspirational speech, and Albert Schweitzer Institute director Dr. Marvin Meyer introduced him and presented the Schweitzer Award with the following remarks:

“The Albert Schweitzer Award of Excellence is one of the highest awards that Chapman University can present. Annually this award has been bestowed upon such individuals and groups as Linus Pauling, Norman Cousins, Rhena Schweitzer Miller, Dr. Larimer and Mrs. Gwen Mellon, Dr. Helen Caldicott, Givat Haviva, the American Friends Service Committee, and, most recently, the Southern Poverty Law Center. Such groups and individuals exemplify the commitment of Albert Schweitzer to reverence for life and service on behalf of others.

“Tonight we are delighted to make a special presentation of the Schweitzer Award of Excellence to Habitat for Humanity and its founder, Millard Fuller. When Albert Schweitzer went to Lambarene in Gabon, Africa, to serve as a medical missionary, he determined to make his life his argument. He promised to remain as quiet as a fish. Instead, he spoke with his hands, as physician, surgeon, and builder of the hospital and medical compound at Lambarene. In this way he lived his ethic, and his ethic was a practical one, with calluses on its hands.

“In a similar fashion, Habitat for Humanity is committed to the concrete and practical realities of building houses for families in need in the United States and around the world. Volunteers with Habitat for Humanity have built homes for more than 100,000 families in more than 3,000 communities. Currently Habitat is at work in 79 countries, and because of Habitat’s work more than half a million people now have safe, affordable shelter. Habitat for Humanity has received the support of countless people. In this room there are many who have worked and volunteered for Habitat. Former President Jimmy Carter has provided enthusiastic and personal support for Habitat, and former President Bill Clinton called Habitat ‘the most successful continuous community service project in the history of the United States.’

“The founder of Habitat for Humanity, Millard Fuller, is with us tonight. Millard Fuller was a young self-made millionaire who determined to sell his possessions, give the money to the poor, and live a life of service in keeping with the gospel of Jesus. Millard and Linda Fuller first moved to a Christian community in Georgia and later to Africa, and their commitment to housing and housing projects grew. In 1976, Millard founded Habitat for Humanity International. Since then Millard has received numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, and has written several books, including two with especially engaging titles: The Theology of the Hammer and No More Shacks: Love in the Mortar Joints.

“Millard, you honor us with your presence this evening. After the destruction of September 11 in the United States and the devastation and homelessness in Afghanistan since then, we reflect with gratitude and hope upon an organization that is literally constructive and edifying. To Habitat for Humanity and to you, its founder, we present the Albert Schweitzer Award of Excellence.”

For more information on Habitat for Humanity, see their web-site: www.habitat.org