Klein passing Habitat leadership torch to Michaels

Dawn Michaels and Dan Klein are pictured. Klein is leaving Habitat for Humanity and Michaels will take over as executive director. 

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As Thanksgiving approaches, dozens of Region homeowners can be thankful for a man who played a major role in putting rooftops over their heads.

Dan Klein, of Crown Point, recently announced he's ending a decade-long tenure as Habitat for Humanity Northwest Indiana director at the end of the year, but his legacy of leadership and aiding those in need no doubt will continue.

It's not the first key leadership position Klein has held in our Region.

He served as Crown Point mayor from 2004 to 2007 before assuming the Habitat for Humanity Northwest Indiana reins.

When Klein took over the nonprofit agency — which builds, remodels and improves homes for families in need — it had no staff, little organization and needed direction.

Now the agency builds six or seven houses each year, presides over a special Veterans' Build program, providing homes for veterans in need, and operates two retail stories.

Those shops, known as The ReStore in Gary and Merrillville, sell new and used furniture, appliances, home accessories and building materials. The revenue helps fund the agency's home builds.

"Dan has truly been a visionary," said Dawn Michaels, Habitat development director who is slated to take over for Klein at year's end. "Dan took the ship and steered it out of troubled waters. Now, it's definitely in the ocean versus in a little canal."

Organizations like the local Habitat for Humanity embody the best qualities of humanity in our Region. Volunteers come together to build homes for neighbors in need.

We thank Klein for bringing added value to this endeavor and wish him well in retirement, where he's already promised to give back, on a volunteer basis, with Habitat projects.

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Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Local News Editor Marc Chase, Lake County Editor Crista Zivanovic, Porter/LaPorte County Editor Doug Ross and Deputy Local Editor Erin Orr.