By Ruth Eigenberg
Review staff writer
Every mother wants to give their children the best opportunities possible, and this year Amber Nordby of Worthington will be able to give her children one of the greatest gifts – a home of their own.
The Nordby family has been selected as recipients of this year’s home from the Habitat for Humanity of Southwestern Minnesota. Every year the Habitat for Humanity of Southwestern Minnesota gives a home to a family in need in Rock, Pipestone, or Nobles County. This year a Nobles County family was selected, and last year’s family was from Pipestone County. Next year’s recipient will be from Rock County.
Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization “dedicated to eliminating substandard housing and homelessness and to making adequate, affordable shelter a matter of conscience and action. Habitat is founded on the conviction that every man, woman, and child should have decent, affordable place to live in dignity and safety,” according to the agency’s mission statement.
“This is our seventh build in seven years,” said Marie Ekdom of the Habitat for Humanity of Southwestern Minnesota based in the city of Pipestone. But the agency doesn’t accomplish this momentous task on its own. “The last two years we’ve had tremendous help from Thrivent Financial,” she added. Habitat homes are also made possible through the countless hours of dedication from volunteers.
“Most of it is volunteer,” Ekdom declared of the work on the homes, including framing, roofing, siding, staining and painting. However, professional contractors and coordinators oversee the project and plumbers, electricians, and other personnel are hired. Their work is done during the week while the volunteers dedicate their Saturdays to the cause. Homes are begun in the spring and usually finished by fall.
This Habitat for Humanity home will be similar to other Habitat homes, but won’t include a basement. It will have three bedrooms, one bathroom, a living area, kitchen and eating area and have 988 square feet. Other homes have also included construction of a garage, but this year’s home will not, since a garage is already present where the house will be built, at 1101 8th Avenue of Worthington.
A groundbreaking ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 9, at 10:00 a.m. at the building site, and the partner family that will receive the home will be introduced and presented with a hammer and framed poem by representatives of Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity. Refreshments will also be served and a volunteer sign-up sheet will be available.
“I just applied and took the initiative,” Nordby said of how she was selected. She had heard of Habitat for Humanity and when a friend suggested applying for a home, she went for it. She completed the paperwork this winter and had an interview, and “left it in the Lord’s hands,” she remarked. She had the idea she was in the running when she got continued calls for more information, and heard she was the recipient at the end of March, about a month after first applying. “I was really excited,” she said. “We’ve been blessed with it.”
Nordby is the single mother of two daughters, Samara, six, and Kiana, two. She works as a substitute paraprofessional in the Worthington public school district, Habilitative Services, Inc., and the Longbranch Saloon of Worthington. She is a graduate of Minnesota West in Worthington, earning medical secretary and paraprofessional degrees. She also stays busy with her older daughter’s school and activities. She lost her mother to cancer a number of years ago, and said although she misses her greatly, she has gained strength through the experience and works hard to provide the best life she can for her children.
Nordby will dedicate 300 hours to the home herself and said she is grateful to family and friends that will also contribute many hours. She said Samara is very excited to have the home, and looks forward to having her own yard. Nordby looks forward to having a place of her own, more space, and a quality environment. As her home, she will get to pick out many of the home’s features, from paint colors to carpeting.
Families are chosen for Habitat for Humanity homes through their need for decent housing, their ability to repay a no-profit, zero-interest mortgage, and their willingness to help build the home or other Habitat for Humanity homes. Over 300 families’ lives will be changed this year through Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity, a $25 million partnership between Habitat for Humanity International and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. This partnership will cover 65% of the construction costs of the Nordby home, while area Thrivent chapters and Lutheran churches will cover 10% and Habitat for Humanity of Southwestern Minnesota will cover the rest, or 25%.
“It’s just the All-American dream,” Nordby noted, and is thankful to all who will make her home possible. “It’s wonderful.”
Anyone interested in helping Habitat for Humanity is urged to offer prayer support, volunteer their time and talents with the builds, or make donations. Habitat for Humanity of Southwestern Minnesota can be contacted at 1-507-562-1001 or toll free at 1-866-220-6833. The address is SW MN Habitat for Humanity, P.O. Box 212, Pipestone, MN 56164. More information can be found at www.thriventbuilds.com.