Habitat for Humanity begins work on 25th home

Rhinelander project draws help from Hudson church group

By Eileen Persike

MMC Staff

RHINELANDER – A groundbreaking ceremony held in Rhinelander for the 25th Habitat for Humanity home was heavy on the “ceremony” earlier this month.

With a cement foundation and several walls standing in the backdrop, the ground had been broken and progress underway for awhile, thanks in part to the help of a Hudson-based mission group.

Coordinators with the Habitat for Humanity Mission Trip group from Mount Zion Lutheran Church reached out to the Northwoods chapter to offer assistance.

“One of our strengths is we raise money within the congregation to purchase the walls for a project and then we have the ability to pre-build the walls, and that’s an outreach program in the community – they can come and help build the walls,” said Group Project Manager Mark Arneson, who works as a contractor. “We do that in advance, and we bring them with us and install them. It gives them a nice shot in the arm, is the way we like to see it.”

All of this was underway on Itasca St. the same time work on the Habitat for Humanity home on Thayer St. was continuing.

“We are excited about this – this is the first time we’ve had two houses going at once in the same year, so we feel like we are growing and we’re going try to do more and more – as much as we can,” said Executive Director Dave Havel. “This is a big day for us, and we’re happy to be able to provide a home for someone who is looking for an affordable home.”

The two-bedroom, two-bath home will belong to Becky Rick and her daughter Sadie. It is under construction on a corner lot donated to Habitat for Humanity by Aspirus last year.

“I just want my own house so I can do what I want to do with it,” Becky said. “I saw Habitat houses being built for a long, long, long time. When the one was built on the west side, I thought, what the heck, I’ll try.”

She contacted Havel, who helped her with a loan application with USDA Rural Development. Once approved, “one thing led to another,” Havel recalled.

As with the project on Thayer St., the Rhinelander High School building trades class will be working on the new home once school begins in the fall.

“It’s such a win-win because the students, of course, are learning a skill,” Havel said. “Many times, if they’re on the site working and contractors come by and see their work, next thing you know they’ve got a connection and job offers. It’s really great they have an opportunity to help and of course for us, it’s an opportunity to get great volunteer help.”

Completion of the home is expected in spring 2024.

The home on Thayer St. will be ready for the family to occupy this summer.

Volunteers, Habitat for Humanity Northwoods board members, representatives from Aspirus and future homeowners gathered for a ceremonial groundbreaking in Rhinelander earlier this month. MMC photo.
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