Sunday, February 2, 2014
That loud, cheerful greeting — usually followed by the name of the newest visitor — sounded throughout the John C. Harris Community Center on Friday afternoon as Bruce Carpenter welcomed friends and coworkers during a celebration of his work there.
Fifteen years to the day after retiring from the military, Carpenter retired from his second career as the deputy director of the Fulton Housing Authority, and those gathered Friday said it will be a big loss.
“His tenure here, and his passion for helping the residents is going to be very hard to replace,” board member Glenn Harris said. “He’s been a staple for so long. His work ethic and knowledge of the organization … he will definitely be missed.”
Carpenter said he became involved with the housing authority 14 years ago after seeing a front-page story about the local housing officer being indicted for embezzlement.
“I came down at the urging of LeRoy Benton — he said, ‘You’d provide instant integrity and credibility,’” Carpenter said.
A few days after turning in his resume, he had the job. For over a decade, Carpenter has been responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of 200 housing units. In that time, he said he is most proud of having transformed the housing authority into a desirable place to live — a transformation he described as “confusion to the general public.”
“Westminster College is just across the street. I get a thrill when we have a parent come over here and say, ‘I want my child to live in this apartment complex,’” Carpenter said. “Our property can’t be distinguished from any other. It looks just as nice as any neighborhood in Fulton — it blends in or looks better.
“When I started out, the identity was ‘projects’ — we registered almost 1,700 calls for service with law enforcement. We had 400 last year, and that was the average for the last several years.”
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