PERRYVILLE — Taking the podium in front of 526 Richmond St., Karen Blandford announced this would be her last dedication of a home as part of Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna.

“I’ve been a part of 35 or 36 families’ journey and I’ve been so humbled to welcome them to their new homes,” Blandford said.

Currently, Habitat for Humanity is finishing a home in Perryville. Along with the Rising Sun build on Walnut Street, Habitat also has six homes under construction in Havre de Grace.

Under Blandford, there have been homes built in Charlestown and Elkton as well.

Blandford joined the office serving Cecil and Harford counties 9 years ago. In those years she said her proudest moments include working with “all the wonderful people ... staff and volunteers.”

“I’ve never been around such a beautiful group of people with hearts and incredible dedication,” she said. “It’s been life changing for me.”

She also said getting the ReStore open and running at 1013 Beards Hill Road in Aberdeen was another joy of her job. That’s a retail outlet selling donated items including construction materials and other over runs such as flooring, carpet, tile and cabinets.

“And I’ve grown the number of major donors,” she said of her accomplishments.

She’s already planning to stay busy in her retirement, which begins Feb. 1, 2022.

“They’re a local garden club and a bread-making club,” Blandford said. “And I have already agreed to be on one board from another non-profit.”

She also wants to volunteer at a food pantry near her western Baltimore County home.

“And I will probably tutor kids to read,” she said.

Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna is already in the search for Blandford’s successor.

Her advice to the next executive director?

“Work hard, be kind, have mercy,” she said simply.

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