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Habitat house dedicated in Worthington

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Habitat for Humanity board president Pastor Terry Morse (right) presents outgoing board member Wally Scholten with a HFH cup during the house dedication ceremony Saturday morning in Worthington.1 / 2
Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Southwest Minnesota Habitat for Humanity home recipient Amber Nordby receives the keys and congratulations from Mayor Alan Oberloh at the conclusion of the house dedication ceremony Saturday morning in Worthington.2 / 2

WORTHINGTON -- Six-year-old Samara sat atop the bed in her room, looked around at her pink walls and family pictures and exclaimed that it was "beautiful."

She was not only referring to her room, but the entire house that she and her mother, Amber Nordby, and 2-year-old sister Kiana were going to be moving into Saturday afternoon.

The Nordbys celebrated the dedication of their new home in a ceremony Saturday morning. The family was the latest to partner with Habitat for Humanity of Southwestern Minnesota to become the owners of the three-bedroom house at 804 11th Street.

Approximately 35 people gathered inside Nordby's living room and kitchen for the dedication of the new home. The event included a candle-lighting ceremony and a presentation of gifts from area churches and organizations.

Nordby said she couldn't thank everyone enough for all of the volunteer work that went into building the home. Construction started last spring, with the countertops added and the plumbing completed on Wednesday.

Don Basche of Worthington served as the site coordinator on the building project and served the last several weeks as the volunteer coordinator as well. Dan Wagner, owner of Dan Wagner Construction, was the general contractor for the project.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you. I don't know how to thank everyone," Nordby said following the ceremony. "I'm blessed."

As the new homeowner, Nordby was required to commit at least 300 hours of sweat equity in the project. She did so by helping to install the insulation; doing painting, staining and cleaning; delivering some meals for the volunteer workers and selecting features like the flooring, cupboards and paint and stain colors.

On Saturday, the entire family was excited to finally be moving in.

"The girls wanted to sleep here already," Nordby said. "Where (we) were living ... this is just so much better, the environment, all around."

Habitat for Humanity of Southwestern Minnesota board member and volunteer coordinator for most of the project, Sharon Johnson said she was thrilled to see the home completed before Christmas.

"Our goal is to have the homeowners in the house by Christmas and we just made it," she said. "On behalf of the board, I would like to extend a thank you to everyone who volunteered to make this beautiful home a reality, especially Dan Wagner, our contractor, and Don Basche, the site coordinator."

Johnson said construction of the home went great, and the homeowner was "very actively engaged" in the project.

Habitat for Humanity of Southwestern Minnesota tries to construct a home each year for a qualifying individual. Projects are rotated between Nobles, Rock and Pipestone counties, and Rock County is slated to have a home constructed in 2010.

Before that can happen, Johnson said the organization needs to regroup to begin fundraising efforts and develop a list of people willing to assist with the project.

They also need to find a qualifying individual who wants a home.

"If there are people who are looking for a house in Rock County, they should contact Kim Smith," said the Rev. Terry Morse, president of Habitat for Humanity of Southwestern Minnesota.

While construction typically starts on the Habitat house in the spring, Johnson said they are considering changing the timeline -- moving instead to a fall-winter construction project. The hope is that by doing so, they might have better luck getting contractors to volunteer on the project, as well as get more farmers involved because they wouldn't be busy in the field.

Preceding Saturday morning's ceremony, Marie Ekdom, former director of Habitat for Humanity of Southwestern Minnesota, was honored for her years of service to the organization. Kim Smith of Pipestone has been hired as the new administrative assistant, and began her duties on Dec. 1.

Wally Scholten of Worthington was recognized as a retiring board member, and it was mentioned that more board members are needed from Nobles County. Anyone interested in joining the board is encouraged to call Smith at the Habitat for Humanity office at 1-866-220-6833.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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