The Hurd family gathered for a picture in their sunny new kitchen after the dedication last Saturday morning in Woodville. Pictured left to right, back row: unknown gentleman, Joan Bartz-Thrivent, Lisa Hurd, Pete Morsch and Jim Far-H4H. Front row: Nicholas, Naomi and Olivia Hurd. Photo by Paul J. Seeling
The Hurd family gathered for a picture in their sunny new kitchen after the dedication last Saturday morning in Woodville. Pictured left to right, back row: unknown gentleman, Joan Bartz-Thrivent, Lisa Hurd, Pete Morsch and Jim Far-H4H. Front row: Nicholas, Naomi and Olivia Hurd. Photo by Paul J. Seeling
WOODVILLE, WI - The sign on the front door at 606B Southside Drive, Woodville, WI read "Please remove your shoes." Opening the door and stepping inside from the cold of a January morning, one was welcomed into a circle of 30 or so stocking-footed people standing on a warm (from radiant heat) polished wood floor. Bright sunlight bathed the empty rooms off the crowded living room where a dedication celebration was taking place.

St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity, Thrivent Builds Homes, and the Lisa Hurd family had invited family, friends and the community to attend the event celebrating the construction completion with the dedicating of the Hurd's lovely twin home in Woodville.

Lisa Hurd and her three beautiful kids have worked hard to build their new home on Southside Drive, and their efforts were bolstered by the folks in attendance at a dedication ceremony last Saturday, January 21. St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity (Habitat) hosted the gathering that included many of those who had contributed "sweat equity" to make this dream home a reality. There was a lot to celebrate-over 2000 hours of volunteer labor, generous donations of building materials and a partnership with Thrivent Financial that made the construction financing possible.

Habitat Executive Director Jim Farr was on hand to welcome the crowd and express thanks on behalf of the organization. "The Thrivent Builds partnership allows Habitat to build significantly more homes each year," Farr said. "Leveraging both funds and the volunteer efforts of Thrivent Financial members and Lutheran congregations throughout the counties, Thrivent Builds homes are a joy to work on."

Thrivent Builds was represented by Financial Consultant Joan Bartz who offered eloquent words for the dedication that begin with this opening, "Today the buzzing of saws and pounding of hammers is silent, as the walls are now raised and this home is now complete. It is with thanksgiving, that we join together to celebrate the work of our hands and hearts as this home is dedicated in the Woodville community. Thanks to everyone present for making this possible."

Bartz congratulated Lisa and the family and welcome them to their new home. She went on to say, "I am proud to be associated with an organization that is committed to helping build stronger communities. Thrivent Financial has linked arms with Habitat for Humanity in a partnership called Thrivent Builds. Together, we are building decent affordable housing for families, right here in the Woodville area, throughout Wisconsin and around the world."

Bartz explained that Thrivent Builds has three primary goals for the partnership that included among the three, "To engage Lutheran Congregations and Thrivent Financial Members in meaningful volunteer experiences, giving them an opportunity to live out their faith and values in ways that have a positive impact on their community."

She also gave some very impressive statistics for Thrivent Builds in which she stated the following: "Nationwide during the past six years, this integrated effort engaged more than 450,000 volunteers who contributed nearly 3 million volunteer hours to build over 2700 homes in the US and around the world. Nationwide, Thrivent Financial's 2011 commitment was $10.4 Million which will support the construction of 162 homes, and within this Thrivent Financial Division, 7 Thrivent Builds homes were constructed."

She continued, "I am happy to announce that Thrivent Builds will again partner with the ST Croix Valley HFH in 2012 to build another home in River Falls, Wisconsin. Locally, Thrivent Financial has been the major financial and volunteer sponsor with St Croix Valley HFH in the construction of this home."

In conclusion Bartz said to all those gathered for the dedication, "Together, we have made a difference in this community. I want to thank you for coming today to dedicate the home built through the Thrivent Builds with HFH effort. By linking arms together, families are strengthened and hope is restored. Thank you and God Bless."

Following a prayer of blessing and consecration by the Hurd's minister from the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints of Menomonie, it was time to make a presentation.

Director Jim Farr asked the Hurds to step forward as a Bible and the keys to the new home were presented to Lisa, and her children Naomi, Olivia and Nicholas who each had very large smiles.
Everyone was then invited to stay for refreshments and fellowship.

The Hurd's new dwelling is an efficient, 3-bedroom home built with innovative materials, including insulated concrete form walls (ICFs) that provide superior sound dampening, storm protection, and insulation values, and radiant in-floor heating to keep the house snug and save the homeowners money. Habitat has built ever more efficient homes, some with monthly heating bills as low as fifteen dollars.

The Hurd home in Woodville is the first of five homes completed this year throughout Pierce and St. Croix counties; next year, the first six homes of the Eco Village project will showcase just how sustainable and affordable Habitat's homes can be.

Breaking ground in River Falls, in the spring of 2012, homes in the Eco Village will add solar panels and metal roofs for rainwater recycling, along with a host of "green" features that will save Habitat homeowners money while protecting the health of the planet.

Like all Habitat homeowners, the Hurds contribute up to 500 hours of volunteer time to home construction, and Lisa and her children have been busy on the construction site since the foundation was poured. Of course, it takes a village to raise the walls, and the Village of Woodville has been there from the start. "We are incredibly grateful to the community of Woodville for their support on this build," said Farr. "From the first volunteers to the crew that welcomed the Hurd family home today, we could not do this work without a welcoming community of supporters."

As the Hurds settle in to their Woodville home, they will start making payments on their mortgage, held by Habitat at 0% interest. Typical Habitat monthly payments, which include taxes and insurance, are between $450-$600 per month.

After nearly a year of hard work, the Hurds and a small army of caring volunteers have crafted a comfortable, affordable home of their own.

"I thank you all so very much and am so glad the struggle is over!" said an overjoyed Lisa Hurd.