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

August 2015
Habitat News Tribune
A Message from the Editor
Hi, everyone! 

The month of July, like June, has been full of staffing changes here at SCV Habitat.

July has brought with it the retirement of our Project Specialist and A Brush with Kindness (ABWK) supervisor, Dennis Schmidt. Dennis now will be enjoying his retirement fishing and spending time with his grandchildren. 

Chris Otten, our Donation Supervisor at the New Richmond ReStore, has announced that he will be leaving his position in mid-August. Chris will be moving to Green Bay to start paramedic training. However, he says that he has enjoyed his time at SCV Habitat because of Habitat's great mission and all of his great coworkers.

Everyone at SCV Habitat will greatly miss working with Dennis and Chris, but we wish them nothing but luck and happiness as they start their next stages!

Also, if you've missed a newsletter, don't worry! Our website now has an archive of almost all of the newsletters dating back to November 2013. The archive can be found here!

Little Minds Learning Center
On Saturday, August 22, Little Minds Learning Center in River Falls is offering child care for parents who want to volunteer at our Eco Village.

Please make sure to take advantage of this great opportunity and join us at the Eco Village on the 22nd!
A Brush With Kindness 
A Brush With Kindness (ABWK) is entering its second season, and we need your help to continue building off the success from the program's first year! 

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 call our office at 715-425-5623 or visit our website.
Leftovers from Garage Sales?
As the garage sale season is starting to wind down, you may be wondering what to do with the items that have yet to find a new home.

Let our ReStores help you with that!

Please consider dropping off your items at either of our two ReStore locations. 

If your donations are too bulky to bring in yourself, please call our Donation Pickup at 715-690-4984 to schedule a pickup. 

Our ReStores thrive on new inventory, so donate today!
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, 
contact the office at 715-425-5623.

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

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

Executive Director

Project Manager

Construction Manager
Office Manager
Office Assistant

Outreach and Faith Relations VISTA
ReStore Manager - New Richmond


Donation Procurement 


ReStore Assistant Manager - New Richmond

ReStore Manager -River Falls


ReStore Associate - River Falls

ReStore Associate - River Falls

ReStore Social Media Consultant - River Falls

Senator Russ Feingold Visits the Eco Village

On Tuesday, July 21, former senator (and Senate hopeful) Russ Feingold came to River Falls to tour our Eco Village project.


Interested in learning more about the Habitat mission and our affiliate's commitment to environmentally sustainable building practices, Senator Feingold met with our Executive Director, Dave Engstrom, and our Project Manager, Jim Cooper to learn more about our values and ideals.

Senator Feingold was very impressed with the work our affiliate has done in St. Croix and Pierce counties, especially with the Eco Village project and the economic development impact it has had in the community.


We would like to thank Senator Feingold for taking the time to meet with us and touring the Eco Village!


Want to see more pictures from the tour? Make sure to visit (and like!) our Facebook page!

Senator Russ Feingold and SCV Habitat Executive Director, Dave Engstrom
Senator Feingold; Executive Director, Dave Engstrom; and Project Manager, Jim Cooper
Camp Badger Tour
On Wednesday, July 15, roughly 33 incoming eighth graders from all over Wisconsin toured the Eco Village as a trip through Camp Badger. Camp Badger is a science and engineering summer program that allows students the opportunity to explore a wide variety of careers within science and engineering and to get to spend time meeting new people who share similar interests as them.

"We take a lot of field trips," said Camp Badger participant Olivia Miller. So far this summer, the group has visited the Ellsworth Creamery, toured a nuclear plant, examined the new bridge being built near Stillwater, MN, and went bowling to learn about the mechanics and engineering that go into making the pin set-up and ball return systems work. "We also get to build popsicle stick bridges and rockets!" added Eva Parks.

Touring the Eco Village, however, has given the students ideas that they are ready to implement at home and in their own lives. Avery Richardson said that looking at the Eco Village has helped her to be more conscious about being energy efficient at home. Casey Denk, Kelsey Schneider, Ayana Stauffer, and Katie Zimmer said that they are interested in putting solar panels on their own homes in the future because "solar energy is always there."

If you are interested in touring the Eco Village and learning more about environmentally sustainable building practices, email Kayla Ludwigson or call our administrative office at 715-425-5623
Camp Badger Participants (L-R): Olivia Miller, Casey Denk, Eva Parks, Kelsey Schneider, Ayana Stauffer, Katie Zimmer, and Avery Richardson
Project Manager, Jim Cooper, explains the mechanical ventilation systems in the houses.
Care-a-Vanners on a Mission
Habitat for Humanity's RV Care-A-Vanners (CAV), according to Habitat for Humanity International, "is a volunteer program for anyone who travels in a recreational vehicle, wants to build Habitat houses and have fun doing it. RV Care-A-Vanners welcomes people of all ages, from all walks of life who want to pick up a hammer and help change lives."

George and Diane Gravlee have really taken the CAV's call to action to heart. In 1993, after Hurricane Iniki destroyed most of the island of Kauai, Hawaii in 1992, the Gravlees were reading a Habitat newsletter calling for 125 volunteers to come to Hawaii to help build seven houses in seven days. The Gravlees decided to go and help out, and they have been hooked ever since.

In 1999, the Gravlees sold their home in Albany, NY and moved into an RV. "We had planned to do touristy stuff 1/3 of the time, visit grandchildren and family 1/3 of the time, and then help out with Habitat for the other 1/3," George started, "but we are doing actually doing Habitat about 40% of the time."

Since the Gravlees have started on their Habitat mission, they have worked with 94 affiliates (on roughly 250 homes) making 138 stops in all 50 states. (They recently started on a build in North Dakota, which was the last state they needed to complete their list.) When asked how many hours they think they've worked on Habitat projects, all they could do was chuckle. "It's really hard to keep track. Each stop is about two weeks long (10 working days) at seven hours a day. Some stops are longer than that though, so you never really know." 

After doing some quick math, Diane came up with an estimated 10,000 work hours each. To put that in perspective, a year only has roughly 8,760 hours, which means that George and Diane have each contributed about 14 months of non-stop work to Habitat.

They don't have plans on stopping anytime soon, either."You know, it gets harder as we get older. George doesn't go up on the roof anymore, but there are still things we can do," said Diane. When asked what keeps them motivated to keep volunteering, they both agreed that it was the families and seeing how moving into a home can change that family's life, especially the kids'. "That's what really keeps us going," George and Diane stated.

Want to learn more about the CAV program? Visit Habitat for Humanity's CAV site!

Diane and George Gravlee
Eco Village Update
Our Eco Village project is moving closer and closer to being finished! The interior of the final houses have been started, and thanks to our many volunteers, the project should be completed by the end of this year!

Parade Photos

Our affiliate had a great time this past month participating in the River Falls Days and New Richmond Fun Fest parades! It was great seeing how quickly 25 pounds of candy can disappear! We are already looking forward to next year's parades!

If you ever wondered what 25 pounds of candy looks like, here you go!
Executive Director, Dave Engstrom, and board member Carol Merriman are waiting for the parade to start.
River Falls ReStore Associate John Thompson is ready to go.
New Richmond ReStore Manager, Andy Scheiderer, cannot wait to pass out candy!

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