'One more house'

UT-Battelle joins community in honoring Tim and Teresa Myrick's years of service through a summer Habitat for Humanity project.


UT-Battelle is supporting a Habitat for Humanity project that honors Tim and Teresa Myrick.UT-Battelle is supporting a Habitat for Humanity project that honors Tim and Teresa Myrick. (hi-res image)

UT-Battelle, the managing contractor for the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is contributing $10,000 in matching donations to a Habitat for Humanity project dedicated to Tim and Teresa Myrick, who have been enduring supporters of the organization that provides shelter for deserving families.

Tim Myrick's handiwork dots the Oak Ridge landscape. He was a major contributor to the modernization campaign at Oak Ridge National Laboratory that resulted in a sparkling new east campus. He helped lead the renovation of the town's high school.

He's been involved in all the Anderson County Habitat for Humanity projects in some way – 58 in all.

He wants to add to that tally. There is some urgency in the matter.

"With the cancer thing I set priorities – fighting cancer, the Habitat project, Living Waters, building a new church, doing some fly fishing," he said.

Myrick was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year and has been in the battle of his life. Being sick hasn't inhibited his drive to serve. Besides Habitat, his causes include Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties (ADFAC), another charity that provides homes. He's on the board of directors for Living Waters – a charity that builds clean water systems in underserved areas such as Haiti but also in East Tennessee. He led an effort to buy the local Red Cross an emergency response vehicle.

He and Teresa have a place up near Mountain City they call Shady Valley. A Christmas tree farm there supports the American Cancer Society. They also run Jericho Farms and have supported the Oak Ridge Farmer's Market for more than a decade.

The Myricks have been a formidable team in civic involvement, so much so that Anderson County Habitat for Humanity is honoring the couple with the dedication of the summer project, which will be in the Heiskell community near their home. An April 29 reception to raise funds for the project honored Tim and the equally involved Teresa.

"Teresa has worked on Habitat women's builds, the Farmer's Market and at Jericho Farms," Myrick said. "Any time you do a lot, the partner helps make that happen."
As somebody who likes to build stuff, Myrick has made sure he never runs out of things to do. For instance, a supermarket bought his church's land, so he's involved in building a new church.

UT-Battelle arrived at ORNL in 2000 with a revitalization plan that was placed in Myrick's capable hands. When UT-Battelle decided to lead the renovation of Oak Ridge High School, Myrick was handed the reins of that project, too. A colleague sparked his interest in Habitat for Humanity.

"Tom Row got me involved in Habitat when the first house was built in Anderson County. I had always worked with ADFAC, which is older. Low-income housing was always very important to me, so I got involved with both. I decided to be involved in every house. Volunteers put in more effort, but I've been involved in some way," he said.

The Myricks' enthusiasm has spilled over. UT-Battelle and ORNL staff members have supported construction projects for the area agencies over the years through volunteer craft support, donated funds and hours of labor. Low-income housing has been central to UT-Battelle's community outreach efforts.

UT-Battelle and Oak Ridge Associated Universities are each contributing $10,000 to the Habitat for Humanity project. All surplus funds raised will be used to build or rehab additional homes or to fund "A Brush With Kindness" projects, which involve exterior repairs to homes of low-income families.

Myrick's illness has rocked the Oak Ridge community he has served so selflessly. For his part, Myrick, who retired from ORNL in 2004, has never stopped contributing, and won't if he can help it.

"It looked pretty grim a couple of months ago.  But the chemo's gone real well, and it's encouraging. I'm feeling better. You know, 'Kill the beast,'" he said.

"If I have one more summer of building, I'm glad it's a new house – for one more family."

 -  Bill Cabage,  865.574.4399,  May 01, 2014

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