Hundreds of Delta Air Lines employees volunteered over a two-month period to help renovate and repurpose a Christian City cottage originally funded by Delta Air Lines employees in 1972. The Delta-Jim Turner Memorial Cottage that served as a home for children for more than four decades now has a new life as a duplex guest home serving the children and senior adults living at Christian City, a non-profit located on a 500-acre campus just nine miles south of Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
One of the 2-bedroom apartments in the duplex will be used to help facilitate family reunifications for children who live in the homes at Christian City Children’s Village. The second 2-bedroom apartment will be available for senior residents’ families and friends to lease while they are visiting. The renovation project kicked off on April 2 and the repurposed cottage was rededicated on May 30. Churches and individual supporters of Christian City provided meals for the volunteers each day.
Jim Turner, Vice President of Tech Ops and long-time Delta Air Lines employee, was also a trustee of Christian City. He was 56 when he passed away in 1971. At the renovation project kick-off event in April 2019, Jane Turner Hannon, daughter of Jim Turner, expressed her family’s appreciation for the honor bestowed on Turner when the cottage was named in his memory.
“My father truly believed that relationships built strength, whether in family, church, community or work. That is what we see at the heart of the Delta ‘personality’ and ‘spirit.’ Dad believed that we all have a responsibility to other people, and he lived out that belief through all aspects of his life, at Delta, and in his church,” Hannon said.
She recalled that her mother kept a ledger of all the donations received from Delta employees all over the country who chose to assist in the effort to build a home for teenage boys in need. “The Delta-Jim Turner Memorial Cottage was built in 1972 for $30,000, and by 1975 the home was paid off, thanks to the combined contributions of a lot of caring Delta people,” she said. “My dad had an ‘open door’ policy with the employees at Delta and regularly held meetings across all stations where he not only informed employees but also listened to them. I believe the donations from the employees were a result of their relationship with my dad. He was a wonderful father and exceptional man,” Hannon added.
Kim Mills-Smith, a 30-year veteran flight attendant with Delta Air Lines, worked with Michel Aletraris of Delta Tech Ops to organize volunteer effort and secure funding from Delta Air Lines to complete the renovation. Mills-Smith designed the floor plan and handled the interior design for the renovated duplex. She and Aletraris worked alongside Christian City volunteer project manager, Terry Chapman. “This renovation project created a vision of hope for the next 47 years,” said Mills-Smith at the re-dedication event.
Terry Chapman praised the volunteers saying, “The Delta Tech Ops employees jumped right in from the first day. We removed the roof, put up new trusses, and replaced HVAC, plumbing, electrical and drywall. Some of the floors were also replaced. We did a complete overhaul,” said Chapman. “It was great to see so many people committed to making sure the project was completed,” he said.
“I believe Jim Turner would be pleased with the renovation and repurpose of the cottage we just completed, and he would have enjoyed seeing all the Delta employees come together for a good cause,” said Aletraris. “At Delta, we stand on the shoulders of Delta pioneers and servant leaders like Jim Turner who came before us. I’m honored to have been a part of continuing the Delta-Jim Turner legacy at Christian City,” said Aletraris.
LaVann Landrum, Chief Development Officer, thanked Kim Mills-Smith, Michel Aletraris and Terry Chapman for coordinating and managing the cottage renovation. “None of this would have happened without you. Successful projects like this one are the result of the combined efforts of many,” Landrum said. “Delta Air Lines has been a faithful friend of Christian City for more than 50 years, and we are grateful for this continued show of support. We also appreciate contributions to this renovation project from Lowe’s of Newnan, Mega Granite and Marble, Owens Corning, Atlanta Community Tool Bank, Legacy Christian Church, Aaron’s, 44 Appliance & Supply, M-Con Construction, the Grey Ghosts from Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity, Sherwin Williams/Fairburn, Cheryl and Mike Cater, and the many others who stepped up to make sure all necessary building supplies and meals for volunteers were provided. Because of this dedicated group of people and companies, Christian City has been strengthened for future service to the children, families and seniors who need us,” she said.
About Christian City
Christian City was established 54 years ago when the first cottage for abused and abandoned children opened on Valentine’s Day, 1965. Today, there are more than 1,000 residents, both children and older adults, living at Christian City in south metro Atlanta. The 500-acre campus includes the Children’s Village Residential Program, Crossroads Foster Care & Adoption Program, Safe Place Runaway & Homeless Youth Program, Thrive Graduate Transition Program, 500 homes for active seniors, a thrift store, 200-bed skilled nursing and rehabilitation center, 150-bed assisted living center and two memory care units. For more information, call 770-703-2636 or visit www.christiancity.org.
PHOTO ABOVE (by Larry Regier):
George Martin (left), Christian City Interim President & CEO, is presented with a re-dedication plaque for the Delta–Jim Turner Memorial Cottage at Christian City. The original cottage, funded by employees of Delta Air Lines in 1972, housed teenage boys. The cottage was completely renovated and repurposed through Delta Air Lines funding and employee volunteer effort in the spring of 2019. Pictured with the plaque at the re-dedication ceremony on May 30 are (from left, front), George Martin, Christian City Interim President & CEO; Kim Mills-Smith, Delta Air Lines flight attendant and volunteer project manager; Jane Turner Hannon, Fayetteville resident and daughter of Jim Turner, Delta Tech Ops VP for whom the cottage was named; Terry Chapman, Christian City volunteer project manager; (from left, back), Michel Aletraris, Delta Tech Ops volunteer project manager; and Barry Matthews, Delta Air Lines Community Engagement Director.
PHOTO ABOVE (by Chris Rank Photography)
PHOTO ABOVE (by Chris Rank Photography)
“Before” PHOTO ABOVE (by Larry Regier
“After” PHOTO ABOVE (by Larry Regier)
“Before” PHOTO ABOVE (by Larry Regier)
Rededication Event PHOTO ABOVE (by Larry Regier)
PHOTO ABOVE (by Larry Regier)
Kim Mills-Smith, a 30-year veteran flight attendant with Delta Air Lines, worked with Michel Aletraris of Delta Tech Ops (standing in doorway) to organize volunteer effort and secure funding from Delta Air Lines to complete the cottage renovation at Christian City. “This renovation project created a vision of hope for the next 47 years,” said Mills-Smith at the re-dedication event.