Habitat to dedicate its 50th

PENNOCK -- Today is a special day for the West Central Minnesota affiliate of Habitat for Humanity: the organization will dedicate construction of its 50th new home.

PENNOCK -- Today is a special day for the West Central Minnesota affiliate of Habitat for Humanity: the organization will dedicate construction of its 50th new home.

Joline Hovland, volunteer and grants coordinator for Habitat for Humanity of West Central Minnesota, said the dedication will mark a milestone for the affiliate, which started in 1993.

"We've built three more in the meantime, but this is number 50,'' she said.

Habitat for Humanity is an international, nonprofit ecumenical Christian housing ministry with the goal of providing simple, decent and affordable housing.

The dedication will take place at 5 p.m. at 400 County Road 1 in Pennock. Armando Gamez, the new owner and his four children -- Daniel, Gabrielle, Selenia and Jordan -- will participate.


Family members will receive Bibles and quilts, and the West Central Association of Realtors will provide a lawn mower and vacuum cleaner. Each room will be blessed by Pastor Mike McCain of Salem Covenant Church of Pennock.

The project was made possible with materials, labor and expertise contributed by area builders, contractors and suppliers. Money was also provided, including $3,000 from West Central Builders Association.

Hovland said Dan Koosman and Koosman Construction contributed time, skills and knowledge in spearheading the project.

"We decided as a builders group, being it was the 50th, that we'd like to be part of Habitat and contribute in a way,'' Koosman said. "I just asked the Builders Association if they'd like to stand behind me and help. They agreed. From there, it's history. The home is completed.''

The four-bedroom home with approximately 1,100 square feet sits on an open lot on the north edge of Pennock. Koosman said the house was made specifically for the family. Koosman said Gamez cleaned and painted as part of his "sweat equity'' contribution to the project.

Hovland said Gamez fit Habitat's three criteria: need, ability to pay and willingness to partner. He went through the application process and was selected in December 2006 to buy the house.

The Gamez family and the West Central Habitat affiliate broke ground for the house on Sept. 25, 2007.

Gamez, who works at Phillip's Recycling of Willmar, said he can't wait to move from the location he is renting in Willmar. He didn't think he would ever have a new house.


"I thought I was always going to rent,'' he said. "It's kind of like a dream come true.''

Koosman said the builders are happy with the way the project turned out.

Other contributors were Affordable Air Inc., Ahmann Construction, B & J Lake Region Electric Inc., Bonnema Surveys Inc., Builder's Outlet, Chappell Central Inc., Christianson Brothers Construction, Countertops Plus, Custom Creations, Double J Masonry, Dooley's Petroleum Inc., Duininck Bros. Inc., Empire Plumbing & Heating, Gimse Brothers Construction, Hansen Concrete, Holmgren Appraisals, I & M Landscaping Nursery Inc., Mike Kompelien Custom Homes, Magnuson Sheet Metal Inc., Menards, Perkins Lumber, Probuild/UBC, Thein Well, Timber Wholesalers Inc., Turbo Turf, Vreeman Construction Inc., Walz Design Woodworks Inc., and West Central Insulation.

Money was contributed by Jeff Ackerson House Doctor Inc., Excel Overhead Door LLP, Insurance by Strehlow, Lake Region Bank of Willmar, M & J Builders Inc., Jerry Nelson Construction Inc., and Steffl Drilling & Pump Inc.

Additional funding was provided by Self-Help Home Ownership Opportunity, Housing and Urban Development, and Habitat for Humanity. Also, Wells Fargo provided a $17,500 grant and volunteers from the Willmar branch.

Youth Build, a group of students from Willmar School District, helped with the landscaping.

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