This month, we honor the service of “Mr. Richard,” who is retiring after working with Houston Furniture Bank for over 13 years! Many of you know Mr. Richard as a dedicated, hardworking, and genuine member of the Houston Furniture Bank team. During his years of service, Richard Michtell interacted directly with the families we serve, working day in and day out to connect families with the essential furniture they need. In Houston Furniture Bank’s 29 years of working with the community, he stands out for his deep commitment to the cause of Making Empty Houses Homes.

When Mr. Richard first joined our team, Houston Furniture Bank was a much smaller operation, working out of a building on Bowling Green Street donated by the Finger family. As the roof collapsed and Houston Furniture Bank went through a phase of transition, Richard helped us set up our operations at our donated location on Hussion street, then in our current location on Mosley Rd, and most recently, he was instrumental in training our team to open our newest location in The Woodlands. As Mr. Richard worked with the Houston Furniture Bank team day after day, he would often remind us how far we had come, as well as sharing his vision for the continued growth of the mission.

Houston Furniture Bank Executive Director and Founder, Oli Mohammed, recalls that Mr. Richard’s work ethic made an impression upon him, right from the start. “We could always rely on Richard to get things done, with a lot of heart,” he said. At Houston Furniture Bank’s daily, 7 am meetings, Mr. Richard would often share stories about families served and remind everyone at the meeting of their part in making that happen. Announcing his retirement at a recent morning meeting, Mr. Richard urged those gathered to feel proud of their work and to help make sure that new team members understand their part in the mission.

Mr. Richard trained many Houston Furniture Bank employees and volunteers. He worked to highlight the value of their work and he taught them the skills of the trade. “The major thing he taught me is how to tie down furniture properly,” said Cris, part of the Furniture Assistance Partnership team. Over the years, Mr. Richard developed his own unique style, with many tricks and safeguards to make sure that the furniture made it safely to its final destination. “He just loved his job,” said Cris, “I bet he dreamed about it. You could just tell he wanted to be here.” Over the years, Mr. Richard moved countless pieces of furniture and helped thousands of families.

Mr. Richard worked with community service workers regularly. Lauren, who serves as Houston Furniture Bank’s Dispatch Coordinator, first worked with Mr. Richard while completing community service hours. “He was always super busy doing 20 things at once,” she recalled. “He always wanted to get the best items that he could find for distribution clients and was working to make the Distribution Center look great for the clients.” He took his work with community service workers seriously. “Mr. Richard was the first person who didn’t make me feel like I was a broken person,” recalled Lauren. “He made me feel like everyone makes mistakes and it’s ok as long as you learn from it and move on. It made me extremely comfortable around him.” When the time came for Lauren to step into her role as a regular part of the Houston Furniture Bank team, Mr. Richard helped her get up to speed.  “He was a key person in helping me do my job better; understanding what could fit on the trucks, how the puzzle pieces fit together. He took the time to explain the why,” she recalled.

Mr. Richard will be missed at Houston Furniture Bank! Thank you, Mr. Richard! It has been an honor Making Empty Houses Homes with you!

Well Wishes from our Team:

Kari Smith, DIVAS coordinator: “I’m happy for Richard and him getting to enjoy his retirement! He has always been one of the biggest supporters of the DIVAS and the work we do. For many years he was our primary source of project referrals since he was in the position to meet the families first hand. He really got to know the families, their stories and knew who would be a good fit for our services. His heart was huge for helping our clients. When working on projects, Richard was always there to help our volunteers in any way needed, with a ready smile, and calm demeanor regardless of whatever hiccups we encountered. Richard was just always a bright spot and a huge help in our work at HFB. He will be truly missed.”

Cris Hernandez, Furniture Outlet Manager: “He was a mentor to me when I came in and he gave me a lot of great information that I use every day.”

Corina Saenz, Receptionist: “I could always count on Mr. Richard, no matter what.”

Cindy Faulker, Mattress Builders Sales Lead:  “He made sure that everyone who came to work with us knew what they were doing and why it was important.”

Lauren, Dispatch Coordinator: He was the guy who was taking out the trash and wiping down the surfaces, himself. He was proud of what we built here.

Hal Lynde, Chairman of the Board: He takes care of people like each person is just as important as the last one. From start to finish, through challenging times, he’s as good as they get… and He’s one of my favorite Aggies!