"A world where everyone has a decent place to live..."

October, 2014
Habitat News Tribune
New ReStore Hours
Our River Falls ReStore has turned four months old. As such, it is reaching a state of maturity, and it is time for a rite of passage. Just as young men of the indigenous Amazonian Satere-Mawe tribe must prove their ascent into maturity by inflicting themselves with extremely potent venom from the bullet ant, the River Falls ReStore must prove its ascent into maturity by extending its hours of operation. Indeed, the River Falls ReStore is currently operating under the same hours as our seasoned and trusty New Richmond ReStore:  

Tue. - Fri.: 9-5
Saturday:   9-2

So feel free to stop by 109 W. Cedar Street any time during the expanded hours to shop, donate items, or inquire about volunteering. We appreciate greatly the invaluable patronage and support that has been gifted to our ReStore from its very inception.
Appealing Progress
As you may know, our annual appeal was sent out two weeks ago, and it has been a smashing success thus far, raising over 3,000 dollars in the first week alone! A stupendous windfall for this grateful affiliate, and a darn good start. But as the Roman historian Livy once wrote, "The sun has not yet set for all time." Indeed, if you have not yet given your tax deductible gift to the annual appeal there is still plenty of time to do so. December 31 is the cutoff, so please, if you believe in our mission of providing decent, safe, affordable, and sustainable housing in the St. Croix Valley please consider donating whatever you can to the annual fund appeal. Thank you for your support, from a truly appreciative affiliate.
A Message from the Editor
Greetings and best wishes to you all from your humble editor, and happy belated Halloween. I realize that I am, yet again, behind deadline. Therefore, I must apologize again for my unpunctuality, and make a solemn vow that I will do everything in my power to get this crazy train back on track. October has been quite an eventful and busy month for our industrious affiliate, so please read on for further edification in this regard.    

It is my eternal pleasure to inform you that our good friend and New Richmond ReStore manager Andy Schiderer is making headlines yet again, and they continue to be the good kind. Andy recently gave a flawless and enrapturing interview for River Falls Community Television. If you missed this tour de force, fear not, we have a link here for your viewing pleasure. Buckle up, it's apt to be a wild ride: 

Per ardua ad astra.
-John Thompson   
Donate a Vehicle to SCV-Habitat and Help us Build Houses

Schwan's Fundraiser
Help us build homes through Schwan's! For every purchase, Schwan's will donate 20% in support of our campaign. 
Click here for more information 

Board of Directors

Dave Meier



Carol Merriman
Vice President 

Don Richards

Bill Stokes

Joan Bartz

Sarah Bruch

Kelly Cain

Rollie Johnson

Peter Kilde

Heather Logelin

Roger Pavlis 

Joel Skinner

Joe Greatens


Dennis Schmidt:
Project Specialist
A Brush With Kindness
Joel Palmquist:
Construction Manager
Debbie Murtha:
Office Manager
Amy Henry:
Office Assistant
Andy Scheiderer:
ReStore Manager - New Richmond
Vincent Solorio:
Donation Supervisor - New Richmond
Jason Dale:
Pick-Up Coordinator
Brenda Berner:
ReStore Office Assistant - New Richmond

Sarah Rose:
ReStore Manager -River Falls

Paul Ritzinger:
Donation Supervisor - River Falls
John Thompson:
AmeriCorps VISTA/
E-Newsletter Editor
A Tribute to our Regular Volunteers


It is not hyperbole to say that from the humble origins of St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity in the mid '90s to the halcyon days of the Eco Village, our virtuous and laudable work could not be achieved without the dedication and resoluteness of our regular volunteers. Their commitment to Habitat all began the same way, with days. Days of labor, days of toil, days of building, days of progress. Days turn to weeks, weeks to months, and months to years. And just as the unassuming flow of water can create immensities such as the Grand Canyon, and the accumulation of mere basket loads of soil and clay can create the colossal earthen mounds of Cahokia, so to has the incremental passage of time given rise to dazzling feats from our stalwart regular volunteers. Over these years of labor, SCV-Habitat has constructed 60 homes. Heady stuff for our lionhearted little affiliate, but could this remarkable feat have been accomplished without the steady and knowing hand of our regular volunteers? Assuredly not. 


We at SCV-Habitat value and honor every one of our noble-spirited volunteers - from deep-pocketed corporate partners to humble do-gooders - the combined efforts of all are indispensable to the resounding success of our affiliate. But let us take a moment now to commemorate the efforts of those dedicated few who return week after week to ensure that families and individuals in need have access to decent, safe, affordable, and sustainable housing. In the words of Bill Shakespeare, "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more..."        


October was a particularly eventful month for our regular volunteers. During the annual Habitat for Humanity State Support Organization conference Roger Pavlis and John Hackbarth were recognized as our affiliate's volunteers of the year for construction and ReStore, respectively. Also, earlier in the month Joe Greatens, our newest board member and a dauntless regular himself, organized a phenomenal booyah dinner at the Eco Village (and manned the booyah kettle himself, see photos below) in recognition of the regulars.     


So to the regular volunteers, on behalf of everyone at SCV-Habitat I would like to extend our deepest and most humble gratitude for the truly exceptional work that you do.

To cap this piece off I wanted to end with a sufficiently grandiose quote to dedicate to our regular volunteers, and as fate would have it I have recently been made privy to such a quote:*    

"Labor, I say, is man's great function...He is nothing, he can be nothing, he can achieve nothing, fulfill nothing, without working. Not only can he gain no lofty improvement without this; but without it he can gain no tolerable happiness.What is there glorious in the world, that is not the product of labor, either of the body or of the mind? What is history, but its record? What are the treasures of genius and art, but its work? What are cultivated fields, but its toil? The busy marts, the rising cities, the enriched empires of the world; what are they but the great treasure-houses of labor? The pyramids of Egypt, the castles and towers and temples of Europe, the buried cities of Mexico; what are they but tracks, all round the world, of the mighty footsteps of labor? Antiquity had not been without it. Without it, there were no memory of the past; without it, there were no hope for the future."


- Orville Dewey

*Kudos to Nicholas Koerner for the prose.

 Below: Joe Greatens preparing his sumptuous feast

River Falls ReStore Grand Opening Extravaganza
October 18th was the official grand opening of our winsome River Falls ReStore, and what a day it turned out to be! Throngs of gleeful shoppers gallivanted merrily about our teeming ReStore amid much fanfare and pomp. The ReStore was alive in a most fantastic manner that day, a colony of contented individuals, sharing together a sense of celebration, community, and some truly toothsome chili cooked up by
 steadfast volunteer Mark Carlson and our very own Sarah Rose. 

Of course none of this magnificence would be possible without the invaluable assistance of our esteemed and venerated volunteers. For our ReStore to reach this lofty point so many individuals have been so generous with their time, resources, and efforts. Recently, accolades are due to Anne Pechacek and her group of seniors from Ellsworth High School who were instrumental in preparing our ReStore for its grand opening.  

So to all of our volunteers, we at SCV Habitat would like to extend our deepest gratitude for your inestimable works. 
Ellsworth Seniors
Staff of the Month: Paul Ritzinger
As aforementioned, our River Falls ReStore is expanding its hours, and as such it must also expand its elite ranks. Enter Paul Ritzinger - affectionately known as Paulie R. Paulie is the newest member of our staff, as he is taking the reigns of River Falls ReStore Donation Supervisor. In his role as Donation Supervisor, Paulie has the vital task of preparing for the showroom floor the cavalcade of donations that each week flood through our loading dock in a spectacular torrent of generosity. This entails unloading, repairing, cleaning, hauling, pricing, and picking up donations. An imperative job no doubt, and concurrent to these responsibilities Paulie must also assist with the customer service duties that correspond with working at a retail store. So with formalities out of the way, let us discover more about this enigmatic figure. 

Much like Dickey Betts, Paul Ritzinger was born a ramblin' man. Although a native of River Falls, Paulie has spent a significant amount of time exploring the American West on skis, and the Wisconsin Northland from a cabin he built by the sweat of his brow. But now Pauli is back in River Falls working for an organization he respects and admires. Indeed, Paulie told me that the ReStore provides him with more than just a paycheck - it gives his life purpose to work for an organization that helps people, a sentiment shared universally by those I interview for this newsletter. 

Paulie came to our organization through a program called Workforce Resources, which I have written about in past issues. Workforce Resources is a nonprofit that helps people learn career skills and gain work experience. You see, Paulie suffered an injury in 2010 that interrupted his work life, and was subsequently having difficulty securing stable employment. But, says Paul, "Workforce Resources didn't give up on me," and they helped Paul secure the valuable position within the ranks of the ReStore that he so capably administers today. Another success story that proves the amazing and vital work that the nonprofit sector is capable of performing. 

Welcome aboard Paulie Ritzinger.  
Volunteer of the Month: Ralph Fravel
Ralph Fravel is a man of mystery. When I approached him about being featured as our volunteer of the month, he responded with a joke about being in the witness protection program. But, Mr. Fravel is also a good sport, and when acquiescing he made it known that he wouldn't have me brave the unforgiving November snow and ice for naught. Consequently, when I forgot to take a photo of Ralph I decided not to wait another week and go back to the Eco Village to take one - partly because I am already woefully behind deadline, and partly because I wanted to make this process as unobtrusive for Ralph as possible, as he was good enough to sit and chat with me. Thus, unfortunately the only picture of Ralph that we have is the ethereal woven tapestry of our imaginations - my sincerest apologies. But, with that bit of untoward news out of the way let us delay no further in meeting this month's volunteer of the year.

Ralph is a retired electrical engineer with a wife, three children, and eight grandchildren. Ralph's father was a contractor, so young Ralph grew up around construction, which served as the impetus for his career trajectory. He was introduced to St. Croix Valley Habitat through his church, Shepard of the Valley - a staunch and resolute Habitat partner. Through Shepard of the Valley Ralph has worked on houses in Elmwood, New Richmond, and the Eco Village. When asked what motivates him to volunteer at SCV-Habitat Mr. Fravel offered three very nuanced answers:
1. The felt sense of camaraderie with the other regular volunteers makes volunteering seem less like a job and more like a shared quest with a close-knit band of brothers.    
2. The satisfaction of seeing the completed sum of his efforts in the form of houses built and families served, something that was not as readily apparent during his stint as an electrical engineer.
3. And of course, the sense of fulfillment that accompanies helping to provide, in Ralph's words, "a fundamental human need." Ralph recognizes the importance of decent, safe, affordable, and sustainable housing in the lives of those who are lacking it, and takes great pleasure in being part of the solution. And it was a great pleasure for me to have gotten to sit down with this affable, good natured jokester. 
Holiday Lights: The Nightmare Before Christmas
Holiday lights. You may know them as that impossible jumbled mess of wire and light bulbs that live in your attic or crawlspace for the lion's share of the year. Somehow between the months of February and November these incredible inanimate objects always seem to be capable of winding themselves into a Gordian knot without any human interference. Indeed, holiday lights can be a hassle, and older incandescent holiday lights steal more energy than Operation Edelweiss and might prove to be a fire hazard if combined with paper ornaments. 

Luckily, if you have an old set of holiday lights you are looking to get rid of, SCV-Habitat will take them off your hands and ensure that they are properly recycled, and of course the proceeds from the recycled material will go towards our homebuilding endeavors. So please, if you have old holiday lights congealing into an entangled ball of frustration in your attic, do not hesitate to bring them to one of our ReStores and turn that frustration into decent, safe, affordable, and sustainable housing.

St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity
116 E. Elm Street
River Falls, WI 54022