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Dunivin honored with street name

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

After more than 20 years, Anne Dunivin still finds satisfaction in helping others get their first home through Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity.

Dunivin, 92, has spent her years of volunteer service to Habitat for Humanity sitting on the organization's Family Selection Committee. The committee reviews all housing applications to the local Habitat chapter.

"I do my part, and all of the other volunteers do their part," Dunivin said. Looking over financial information and making home visits are some of the things committee members do.

"We all work together, and somebody receives a house that couldn't otherwise be a homeowner ... I enjoy being a part of a project that helps people own a home," Dunivin said.

Dunivin's life was feted by friends and Habitat for Humanity colleagues Thursday during the dedication ceremony for a street which now bears her name - Dunivin Drive - in The Avery neighborhood of Jonesboro. The one-road, looped neighborhood will eventually have houses for 48 families selected by Habitat for Humanity, according to spokeswoman Cara Welch.

During the ceremony, Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity officials said it was fitting that a road in one of the organization's communities be named after Dunivin because of her decades of service to the organization.

"It's not often anymore that we get to come together to celebrate something positive in our community, or to talk about this community's history," said Clayton County Sheriff Kem Kimbrough, who is the vice-president of Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity. "But, we're here today to celebrate a woman who has done so much with this life the Lord has given to her."

Dunivin said she was not sure she deserved the honor.

"Of course, I was flattered when I found out they were going to name the street after me, but I think other people have done way more for this organization than I have," she said. "I can hardly believe they are doing this for me. I'm thrilled and I'm thankful, and I want to keep on working for Habitat for many more years to come."

Clayton County Juvenile Court Judge Steve Teske, president of Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity, likened Dunivin to Moses, in that both took up important tasks in their lives.

"It's easy to say 'No' when you're called to do something for others," Teske said. "But it takes character, it takes courage, to say 'Yes.'"

Teske later said "she knows when to speak, and when she speaks, she has something to contribute that benefits Habitat for Humanity."

John Goolsbee, chairman of Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity's Family Selection Committee, said Dunivin has often served as the committee's "brakes," stopping the committee from sometimes rushing to make decisions about who will receive a Habitat for Humanity home.

Goolsbee said Dunivin reads all of the application packets the committee receives in their entirety, and sometimes points out issues that other committee members miss. "She's like the word of caution before we make any decisions," Goolsbee said.

Dunivin, a native of Atlanta, moved to Riverdale with her husband, Harry, and three children, in 1975. In addition to her decades of volunteer service to Habitat for Humanity, Dunivin served two terms on the Riverdale City Council from the late 1990s, to early this decade.

She has been involved in her church, Riverdale Presbyterian, for several years as an elder, and a member of the finance committee.

Last year, Dunivin won three swimming gold medals at the Georgia Golden Olympics. As a result of those wins, she became "better known to some as 'Aquawoman,'" according to a biography in the dedication ceremony's program.

Dunivin said she is practicing her swimming skills twice a week in preparation for the National Senior Games in San Francisco this August.

"She makes you think there is a tomorrow for all of us because of all the things she does in her own life," said former state Rep. Frank Bailey (D-Riverdale).

"I find 'Dunivin' and 'Drive' belong together because she has a lot of drive, and she's been a driving force in the community," said Riverdale Presbyterian Church Pastor Yolanda Thompson. "Nothing stops Anne once she has made up her mind to do something."

Adam Hobgood, whose family lives in one of the five houses already built on Dunivin Drive, said he has only met Dunivin twice, but is pleased to see there was some history attached to the street's name.

"It's an honor that your street name has some significance, and that there is an interesting history behind the name," Hobgood said.

At the end of the ceremony, Dunivin implored the attendees to live a life of service to others. She said "right now, I don't hurt anywhere," partially because of all the activities she does to help others.

"I hope everyone who gets something out of this life is doing something worthwhile," Dunivin said. "I think Habitat for Humanity is a worthwhile organization."