CORNELIUS – Our Towns Habitat for Humanity announced a major change at the helm as Terry Laney steps down from his role as executive director after 10 years in the position.

In his place, 17-year Habitat volunteer Enrique Sanchez will serve as the interim executive director.

“Because of the hard work of our partners, volunteers and staff at the affiliate, we have been able to serve 2,435 families globally,” Laney said. “Not only serving the Lake Norman area, but truly changing the way of life for families in Sri Lanka and Guatemala. Our tithe has reached an amazing $1.7-million mark and the affiliate momentum has never been stronger.”           

Laney is leaving the Our Towns to pursue his own personal and professional goals but will continue to be an advisor, supporter and volunteer for Our Towns Habitat for Humanity, Habitat Guatemala and for Habitat for Humanity International.

“I am excited about the future of the affiliate, especially as the Neighborhood Revitalization takes hold,” said Laney. “And the affiliate will be led by Enrique Sanchez ... who is extremely passionate about our mission.”

Sanchez, a native of Argentina, will take the Our Towns through the next few months as the board continues their search for a new executive director.

“I definitely have Habitatitis,” Sanchez said. “I fell in love with the mission on the first day I volunteered back in 1995.”

Sanchez has served in many facets of the Habitat mission.

He started out as a construction volunteer and since then has led Habitat house builds, served on the Bank of America HFH leadership team, traveled and led groups throughout the United States, Mexico and El Salvador on global village trips, participated in Jimmy Carter builds, worked with the Habitat team in El Salvador to secure funding needed for sustainability and has focused on church and faith-based partnerships for Habitat.

Sanchez’s involvement with Habitat began while he was working for Nations Bank, now Bank of America, in 1996.

Sanchez said he was very active as both a volunteer and in a leadership position for Habitat while at the bank. He planned events sponsored by the bank, building houses across the United States and Mexico.

He said it was a no-brainer when he was asked to take over as the acting executive director of Our Town’s Habitat for Humanity.

Our Town Habitat has 24 houses to build before the end of the year, and Sanchez said his job will be to make sure the “train keeps moving and we are going in the right direction.”

“I am a Christian, and this is one of the best ways that you can actually live your faith and serving others. (Habitat) is an institution that is dedicated to that,” Sanchez said. “It’s a perfect match for me as a spiritual person. You serve other people, period. It is not a hand out; it’s not a charity; it’s a true hands up. You help people have better living conditions.”