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

May, 2015
Habitat News Tribune
A Message from the Editor
Greetings and best wishes to you all from your humble editor. Diligent readers of this newsletter will undoubtedly remember that it has been nearly a year since I began editing the Habitat News Tribune, and what a year it has been! Over these past 12 months I have grown substantially - both professionally and personally, and I owe a massive debt of gratitude to everyone involved with this truly amazing organization. I cannot begin to express how wonderful it is to be involved with an organization that helps so many people realize their dreams, and helps the community come together to solve a common and pernicious problem. 

Preeminent among the many invaluable lessons I have learned during my tenure here is that with a team of dedicated, industrious, and altruistic people working together for a common, righteous purpose there is no end to the levels of greatness that can be achieved and the lives that can be irrevocably altered for the better. There is no stronger force in the world than a combined commitment to making it a better place.    

Thank you so much for your readership this past year, and thank you especially to those who have offered me feedback on this newsletter, I greatly appreciate knowing that people care enough about my work to offer both words of praise and words of critique. 

Per ardua ad astra.
-John Thompson   
A Brush With Kindness Set to Kick Off
May is finally upon us, and with it the second season of A Brush With Kindness. We need your help to make our second season even more of a resounding success than our first.  If you or someone you know in Pierce or St. Croix County will be facing a daunting home repair, home maintenance, or landscaping project in the spring please contact Dennis Schmidt for more information, or call our office at 715-425-5623.  
New Richmond Spring Donation Drive
Our redoubtable New Richmond ReStore wants your help! As spring is upon us, the time is now for a donation drive. If you have quality new or gently used building materials, furniture, or working appliance please do consider bringing them to the ReStore as a tax deductible donation, or if your donations are too bulky to bring in yourself please call our Donation Pickup Hotline to schedule a pickup. Our ReStores thrive on new inventory, so get a jump start on your spring cleaning and donate today!

901B N. Knowles Ave. 
New Richmond, WI 54017 
Manager Andy Scheiderer's phone: 715-246-4441
Donation Pickup Hotline: 715-690-4984
Join our FAM Club!
The Fifteen Dollars a Month club is a hassle free and secure way to help fight poverty housing in the St. Croix Valley. Each month, for less than a couple meals at a restaurant, you can help provide a home for a local family in need. With the FAM club, every month 15 dollars (or more, if you choose) will be securely transferred from your bank account to ours to help us cover the cost we incur on our noble mission. To sign up for the FAM club please email our Development Director Susan Capparelli, or contact the office at 715-425-5623 and ask for Susan. We at St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity would like to extend a very heartfelt and humble thank you to all of our donors for your beneficence, it is through your contributions that we may continue our righteous work.
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

Kelly Cain



Sarah Bruch
Vice President 

Don Richards

Bill Stokes

Carol Merriman

Peter Kilde

Heather Logelin

Roger Pavlis 

Joel Skinner

Joe Greatens

Maureen Otwell

Bill Richard

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
Chris Otten:
Donation Supervisor - New Richmond


Jason Dale:
Donation Procurement 


Brenda Berner:
ReStore Assistant Manager - New Richmond

Sarah Rose:
ReStore Manager -River Falls


John Thompson:
AmeriCorps VISTA/
E-Newsletter Editor
Lowe's Women Build 

May is a special month for Habitat for Humanity International. For the past eight years, the week leading up to Mother's Day has been National Women Build Week (sponsored by Lowe's), a week that "challenges women to devote their time to help build affordable housing in their local communities. The week also spotlights the homeownership challenges faced by women and subsequently their children, across the nation." 

National Women Build Week is, as the name would imply, a national effort, with over "300 Habitat affiliates...hosting Women Build projects with support from Lowe's, Habitat's longtime partner in the event." St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity is proud to be among those elite 300, as our Eco Village was the site of a two-day Women Build event May 7th and 8th.  

This year's Women Build was an extraordinary event. Lowe's of Oak Park Heights, MN and West St. Paul, MN, Uponor, Werner Electric, First National Bank of River Falls, and River Falls Area Hospital - Allina Health all brought contingents of female volunteers, along with generous monetary donations, to the Eco Village to build homes, empowerment, and community. Coordinated adroitly by such St. Croix Valley Habitat mainstays as Joel Palmquist, Joe Greatens, Dennis Schmidt, Carol Merriman, Rollie Johnson, J. R. Helget, and Judy Sambs, and joined by homeowner-partners Charity Purfeerst, Kathy Lane, and Sara Stephens, the volunteers were certainly in good company.

The two days were overcast and a bit chilly, but that did not dash the spirits of anybody on site. Indeed, there was a sense of exuberance and camaraderie about the Eco Village as the ladies donned their pink Women Build shirts and set about their crackerjack work. As the hammers hammered and the sawdust flew it became abundantly clear that this would be no ordinary build. Indeed, the amount of work completed in a scant two days was truly remarkable. Sheetrock, insulation, framing, siding, storm door installation - these women completed a variety of tasks with the utmost poise and dexterity. 

On Friday we were joined by a very special visitor, none other than State Senator Sheila Harsdorf. Senator Harsdorf has been a longtime SCV-Habitat supporter, and she turned out to offer words of wisdom and inspiration during lunch on Friday. 

During the two days of our Women Build, volunteers were filled with both spiritual and physical nourishment. Pastors Chris and Stacy Myers from First Congregational Church of River Falls both led prayers before lunch, and there was a veritable cornucopia of delectable refreshments including water donated by Dick's Fresh Market of River Falls and $50 worth of snacks donated by Family Fresh Market Grocery of River Falls. Lunch was brilliantly (and deliciously) catered by River Falls restaurant South Fork Cafe. 

Thank you once again to Lowe's and everyone who has had a hand in making this event such a resounding success; we are already looking forward to next year's Women Build!
State Senator Sheila Harsdorf.
Executive Director Dave Engstrom's son, Andrew, deftly performs the videography for the Women Build.
New Richmond ReStore Five Year Anniversary Extravaganza
It's hard to believe the New Richmond ReStore fifth year anniversary celebration has already came and went, but here we are. ReStore Manager Andy Scheiderer was literally speechless when pondering the achievement of this incredible milestone. The celebratory week was, by all accounts, an unmitigated success. Shoppers turned out in droves to take advantage of the marvelous deals all week long, the silent auction of re-purposed furniture concluded on Saturday, and the St. Luke's Men's Club helped raise over $200 with their lunch stand. 

Thank yous are in order for St. Luke's Men's Club, our silent auction donors, Dave Meier for his volunteerism, our indomitable ReStore staff and volunteers, and everybody else who worked so diligently to bring this remarkable triumph to fruition.

Silent auction items were donated by the following people and organizations:

1. My Happy Place of Somerset, WI
2. Flannery Lake Art
3. Handmade by Minzer
4. A friend of the New Richmond ReStore

To see photos and descriptions of the donated items along with other news, deals, and happenings at the ReStore, please visit (and "like") our New Richmond ReStore Facebook page. Furthermore, the New Richmond ReStore upcycling contest also wrapped up at the end of May, so please do check the Facebook page to see what the winning contestants came up with. 
Some of the fantabulous items at the silent auction.
Andy Scheiderer posing by his desk, festooned with the ornamentation befitting five glorious years. 
Staff of the Month: Alma Silver

Just as the Chicago Tribune did on November 3, 1948, it appears that I spoke to soon. Last month when I discontinued our Staff of the Month column I had no idea that just a few weeks later we would be fortunate enough to have gained a new employee. Indeed, it is my great pleasure to announce the addition of Alma Silver to the SCV-Habitat workforce.


Alma is a junior at River Falls High School, the vice president of the Future Business Leaders of America club, a blogger, and a soon to be college applicant. A busy and stressful schedule for anybody, but compounded for Alma by the fact that she has Cerebral Palsy. But in spite of life's stressors and tribulations, Alma remains a cheery consummate professional who is always equipped with a profound musing or a witty rejoinder. 


Alma comes to us via an organization called DVR, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, that helps people with disabilities become independent and self-reliant through employment services (in a similar vein, it strikes me, to Habitat for Humanity, which helps people become independent and self-reliant through homeownership). DVR has incurred the expense of the entirety of Alma's wages for her 500 hour tenure, so the entire arrangement would have been quite difficult indeed without the assistance of DVR, 


Alma's tenure with SCV-Habitat will be spent at our stouthearted River Falls ReStore performing marketing and outreach work. Specifically, she will focus on increasing the ReStore's online presence, accessibility, product promotion, and community involvement. As someone with an intense passion for public speaking and written communications, who is looking to pursue a career in advocacy and public speaking, Alma Silver is certainly a wonderful candidate for the job, and we at SCV-Habitat are exhilarated to see what she creates with her new position.  


Thank you to Alma Silver, Sarah Rose, and DVR for making this opportunity possible, and do look for Alma's blog, "I Can't Princess Wave, I have CP" this summer so that you too might be the beneficiaries of Alma's  perspicacious ruminations and rapier wit.   

 Volunteer of the Month: Chuck and Judy Sambs
"This affiliate is blessed with the volunteers it has" - a paraphrase from Chuck Sambs, one half of this month's Volunteer of the Month. This statement is most certainly true, and most certainly encompasses Chuck and Judy Sambs - two of SCV-Habitat's staunchest volunteers. 

The pair of retired educators first got involved with Habitat for Humanity shortly after they retired in 2005. Chuck and Judy were looking for some meaningful volunteer work to devote their newly found free time to, and fate, in the form of a horrendous tragedy, would soon bond the duo to habitat for Humanity. On August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana. Both the Gulf Coast and the Sambs would be indelibly altered by this event. The Sambs decided to head down to Louisiana and volunteer for Habitat for Humanity St. Tammany East, located in the New Orleans-area and heavily inundated by Katrina's deleterious deluge. Soon the Sambs had decided to take on the semi-nomadic lifestyle of the Care-A-Vanners - Habitat volunteers who spend much or all of their time traveling to different Habitat builds the country-over in mobile homes. The itinerant lifestyle of the Care-A-Vanners had an irresistible appeal to the Sambs, who were looking to do some traveling along with their volunteering. 

Chuck and Judy became regular volunteers with St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity around five years ago, when they began to spend the cold months building down south and the warm months building with SCV-Habitat. Shortly after they began volunteering at this affiliate, the Sambs were approached by Construction Supervisor Joel Palmquist about becoming, in Chuck's words, the "charter members" of the "Thursday crew" of regular volunteers, which Chuck and Judy remain committed members of to this very day. 

During their illustrious career as Care-A-Vanner, the Sambs have achieved some truly remarkable statistics. Chuck and Judy have helped build approximately 100 homes in 9 states, including SCV-Habitat homes in Spring Valley, Woodville, and every home at the Eco Village. The Sambs Habitat for Humanity resume also includes facilitating Care-A-Vanner builds for SCV-Habitat during the summer months. The Sambs enjoy working on such unique houses in the Eco Village alongside their fellow regular volunteers and Joel Palmquist - "a peach of a supervisor" in Chuck's words.       

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