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St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity honors partners

St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity held a Volunteer Donor and Partner Appreciation Event at the Hudson Golf Club last Thursday afternoon.

Major Donor Awards (engraved wooden plaques) were presented to a total of 50 businesses, organizations, churches and individuals that made cash or in-kind donations of $500 or more for the three home-building projects undertaken in 2003.

Fourteen businesses and local governments received Partner Awards for indirectly supporting Habitat's 2003 projects.

Gloria Wahrenbrock of the town of Troy, president of the St. Croix Valley Habitat chapter, welcomed the partners to the event. Henry Dreistadt, a chapter board member from River Falls, served as master of ceremonies.

The construction supervisors for the projects at Hudson, River Falls and Baldwin also spoke, highlighting businesses and groups that made special contributions.

Tom O'Connell of River Falls supervised the Hudson project. Joel Palmquist of River Falls oversaw construction of the twin homes at River Falls. Paul Ramberg, assistant supervisor of the Baldwin project, spoke for Harvey Hielkema, who headed up the construction of a single-family house there.

Hudson's first Habitat for Humanity house, located in The Lighthouse at Hudson Pier subdivision on the southeast side of the city, was completed in late January. New homeowners Raheem Battah, Menal Al-Abood and their four children moved into it shortly after. The family came to the United States from Jordan three years ago and has been living in Hudson for about two years. They weren't at last week's event. Battah, a welder, was at work.

Because the Battahs' house was completed in the winter, Habitat's traditional home-blessing service was postponed until spring.

Wahenbrock announced that construction of Hudson's second Habitat house would start in April. Andersen Corp. of Bayport, Minn., is sponsoring the project, she said, which means the company will provide most of the materials and volunteer labor.

Crews of 25 Andersen employees will be on the site daily during a "blitz build" week.

Sarah J. Andersen, board chair of the Andersen Corp., attended the appreciation event. She is a longtime, and important, Habitat for Humanity benefactor.

Andersen Corp. has donated every window in the 17 houses that St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity has built since the chapter was founded in 1996.

To celebrate its 100th year in business, Andersen Corp. is working with Habitat for Humanity to build 100 homes (including the one in Hudson) over a five-year period. The $5 million commitment includes funding from the Andersen-related foundations.

Developer Jon Arkell has donated seven single-family lots in The Lighthouse at Hudson Pier development to St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity. The organization plans to build houses on the remaining open lots over the next three years.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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