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Building a Home...not just a house

Posted: 2009-05-21 15:26:51

The Jackson Partner Family, Aurora • Jon Siman, Eveleth, and Melissa and Craig Augustin, Britt

Habitat address:
322 South 1st St East in Aurora
Sunday, June 14th at 2:00 pm

New Habitat 500 riders Craig and Melissa Augustin (pictured below on the left) have teamed up with Jon Siman (far right) - longtime Habitat board member, experienced Habitat 500 rider, and volunteer construction supervisor in the Quad Cities - to ride for the Jackson family. Heather and her son, Austin, will be building their Habitat home in Aurora this summer.

My name is Craig Augustin, and my wife Melissa and I are going to ride in the Habitat for Humanity 500 mile bike ride for the first time. We had some extra time this summer and decided to train for the bike ride and to raise some funds for Habitat. We are kind-of teamed up with veteran Habitat 500 biker Jon Siman. I say “kind-of” because I think Jon will be at the front of the pack, and Melissa and I will be towards the rear. (Unless they allow bikes to be tied together with ropes…which I doubt.) But more than a bike team Jon arranged for us to meet with one of Habitat’s new partner families. We met with Heather and her son Austin. They currently rent a place to live in Aurora, which is where their new Habitat home will be built this summer. Heather and her son have been renting and moving a lot in recent years and are very much looking forward to owning their own home. Heather and Austin enjoy the outdoors, and what better place to do that than Aurora. They also have family in Biwabik and Hoyt Lakes, which makes it convenient to visit and entertain them.

Austin is an 8th grader and has been on the honor roll every year since kindergarten. He is also very involved in sports. He plays football and baseball and loves to fish. Heather works two jobs to provide for her family, and she will invest at least 400 hours of time and sweat equity into their new home. Heather knows how to swing a hammer and has helped frame many homes already. She has been very involved in the floor plan layout, getting city approvals, picking out building materials, and taking classes on homeownership and maintenance at AEOA. “My dream is just within my grasp and I just can’t help it,” she said, laughing as we discussed her seemingly boundless motivation and energy.

Heather is excited that her home will be the first Habitat home in the area to be a green home. It will use recycled materials and use energy efficient lighting. It will also use 2x6 wall construction.

Heather is also excited about a potential “Build Blitz” with the Olympic framers to frame her home. With their professional help it will only take a day or two to have the whole shell done, including the roof, siding, windows, and doors on the heated cement slab.

We were already excited to go on the bike ride this summer and raise money for Habitat, but after meeting this homeowner family it brings it to an even more personal level. We now realize we will be raising money to build a home, not just a house. And that is really exciting. We are glad to be involved and hope even in this down-turned economy people will support Habitat for Humanity and donate generously to the Habitat 500 bike ride...500 miles of worthwhile bike riding with a mission. And honest Jon, no ropes...but just in case don’t look back. :)