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Choices Center's Gainey hands off her blossom flower
Koz takes over as director of nonprofit aiding women, families through pregnancies
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Ann Gainey, right, and Lee Koz, left, sit in the prayer room Friday at Choices Care Pregnancy Center in Flowery Branch. Gainey is retiring from the executive director position at Choices Care Pregnancy Center after almost 25 years. Koz is the new executive director. - photo by David Barnes

Choices Pregnancy Care Center

Office locations: 434 Green Street Place, Gainesville; 4591 Winder Highway, Flowery Branch

Phone: 24-hour help line, 770-535-1245

Website: www.choicespregnancy.org

After serving as executive director for nearly 25 years, Ann Gainey retired from Choices Pregnancy Care Center in June.

“About 18 months ago, I heard very clearly in my spirit from the Lord that he was saying, ‘Ann, in 18 months it’s going to be your time to leave,’” Gainey, 66, said of her decision.

And just as her faith led her to leave, it was that same faith that first brought her to the pregnancy center in 1993.

“The reason God drew me into it was actually because of my infertility,” she said. “As a young wife, I found out that I was infertile and I was pretty angry with God, and he had to really deal with my heart on that.”

But as a believer, she said she trusted God had a reason.

“God equips those He calls,” she said. “He knew he was going to call me into this pregnancy work years down the road, and he had to equip my heart with the sensitivity to this issue.”

For nearly a quarter-century, Gainey served with Choices Pregnancy Care Center and watched the institution grow. The center provides counseling and faith-based services to women and families facing crisis pregnancies, including free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, adoption referrals and low-cost tests for sexually transmitted diseases.

”Over the years, God has just turned it into an open, full blossom flower,” she said. “It’s just been so much fun to watch God do his job.”

But Gainey is ready for what she believes is her next assignment from God: “burden bearing.”

“I don’t say I have retired,” she said. “I say I have ‘refired.’ I’m just as fired up about that burden-bearing assignment as I was in 1993 for 25 years as executive director.”

And while she plans to stay busy, she said she’s going to be available for her successor, Lee Koz, through December.

“There are about 30 key donors and pastors that I need to go with him to introduce him to,” she said. “So we will be doing that this summer and on into the fall through December until we get appointments set up with all of them.”

Gainey said she that while she was not on the search team that chose Koz, she couldn’t be more excited that he was selected.

“When I found out a man was chosen, I was so excited,” she said. “The majority of pregnancy center directors are women, yet in the last five to 10 years, slowly but surely, we’ve gotten more males as executive directors. As a man as the executive director, he’ll be able to relate to all men in our community and let them see that they can be a part of pregnancy center ministry.”

And Koz agrees those are some advantages he can bring to the ministry as a man.

“I think a big advantage of having me here is actually going to be reaching the men and talking to men, both men who are involved in the crisis pregnancy (and) also men in the community to get them to take this woman’s issue, which affects us all very seriously,” he said.

Koz, 40, moved to Gainesville from Buffalo, N.Y., where he previously worked in Christian apologetics for an organization called Reasonable Faith.

He said his decision to come to Gainesville for Choices Pregnancy Care Center essentially came down to prayer.

“I chose Choices because this is where we had the greatest peace in prayer,” he said about the decision he made with his wife. “Also we just love kids. On a personal basis with the Koz family, that’s really what we are about. We have four children and we have one that’s actually due in August.”

And deciding to come to Gainesville was almost like a homecoming for his family.

“I actually got ordained, baptized and married at Lakewood Baptist Church,” he said. “So I’m very familiar with the area. Coming here to this area is like returning home for us.”

Koz officially began his duties as executive director on June 1, and he said he already has a favorite part to the job.

“Without a doubt, it’s meeting the people of the community,” he said. “Getting to hear their stories, talk to them, love on them. But also getting to go around to the local businesses (and) the local churches. I’m getting to meet everybody in the whole community.”

Koz is excited about his future with the pregnancy center.

“I’m really excited about the impact I think we can have on this community — raising the awareness of what life is, making a really strong case for the Christian-centered view of the sanctity of life and also making advancements in the kind of services that are involved,” he said.

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