|Elkhorn's first Habit home built on community|
|Elkhorn's first Habit home built on community|
|Written by Jean Van Dyke/Walworth County Sunday|
|Monday, 03 December 2012 15:46|
“Do all the good you can.
By all the means you can.
In all the ways you can.
In all the places you can.
At all the times you can.
To all the people you can.
As long as ever you can.”
— John Wesley
ELKHORN — An atmosphere of accomplishment surrounded those attending the dedication and open house at 206 E. Marshall St. in Elkhorn recently, where many of the volunteers who had dedicated time to build the first Habitat for Humanity house in Elkhorn gathered.
It was the culmination of a four-year process, which began in November 2008, when Lori Potter filled out the application that started her and her two children on the road to homeownership.
On May 20, 2009, a group of people waving signs and shouting in her front yard delivered the message that she’d been accepted into the program. After an extended period of fundraising, the groundbreaking for the house took place March 17. Eight months later, Larry Green, interim director of Habitat for Humanity in Walworth County presented Potter and her children, Tawny and Dakota, with a Bible and a ceremonial key.
Green thanked the Lord, “who made the hearts and hands which went into this house.”
The board of directors of Habitat for Humanity in Walworth County, volunteers, contractors, family, friends and neighbors gathered to witness the dedication — all the people who were behind the scenes as the three-bedroom house was built.
Duane Goetsch, who served as general contractor for the project, is also a minister, and, with Green, offered Scripture reading and prayers before offering the blessing of the house.
“There are just no words — just thank you!” a tearful Potter said during the open house that followed the dedication. “It’s too much to express the gratitude and love we feel toward everyone who came together to create this house.”
Those who came together to celebrate the home’s dedication had volunteered every Saturday from the time the foundation, which was provided by Prairie Tree Service, was finished. The time put in once the walls started going up included two Saturdays in June, plus all of July, August and September. Twenty-five to 30 people spent eight hours each Saturday, either at the house or on material runs. That equates to 2,800 to 3,360 work hours — all volunteer time.
As the homeowner, Potter also was on site any time work was being done, putting in her “sweat equity.” Goetsch praised her efforts.
“She worked really hard,” Goetsch said. “We could have used a dozen of her!”
Goetsch, who owns Woodpecker Hill Construction, worked throughout the week as needed, serving as the de facto general contractor, organizing not only volunteers, but also coordinating the many contractors.
“Among the volunteers, there were some professionals who put in a lot of hours,” Goetsch said. “Dale Dorvinen was the major force behind the construction, Brian LeBeau did the finish work, and many of the subcontractors donated time and materials. Notably, Gavers Pavers donated the asphalt and labor to put in the driveway and repair the street.”
He continued, “The Lord put the right people there at the right time. I was very gratified to have met a wonderful group of volunteers who made this project their own, who really bought into it and stayed interested in it.
“There were casual volunteers, Rotary members, people from company foundations, college kids — all who wanted to make a home for someone else,” Goetsch said. “One young man, soft-spoken and inexperienced, came to help. I asked how he heard about the project, and he said he saw it on the Internet. He worked three Saturdays with Dale.”
Next, Habitat for Humanity in Walworth County, with the help of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater chapter of Habitat for Humanity, will build in Whitewater the 15th home in Walworth County. Fundraising is the first step.
The vision of Habitat for Humanity in Walworth County is “a world where everyone has a decent place to live.” The group’s mission statement asserts they are “seeking to put God’s love into action, (bringing) people together to build homes, communities, and hope.”
The organization was formed Oct. 1, 1998, as an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International.
Homeowners like Potter are required to invest “sweat equity” hours into the construction of a home. Through volunteer labor and tax-deductible donations of money and materials, homes are built or renovated and sold at no profit with no-interest mortgages to partner families.
Habitat houses are built with skilled carpenters, licensed contractors and volunteer helpers. The homes conform to local and state building codes.
The experience of volunteering for Habitat creates a community, Goetsch said.
“Diverse people with a commitment to doing something meaningful for someone else, without a huge structure behind them, come together,” he said. “They have a commitment to serve, and in the process, they develop a spiritual and personal community.
“It’s really a positive experience. It shows what our society can do when we work together.”
|Last Updated on Monday, 03 December 2012 15:52|