There was a brief ceremony Wednesday with a few prepared remarks at the dedication of the new Habitat for Humanity home in Mauston.
But no one captured the moment – and the spirit of the Habitat mission — better than Amber Deitz, 13, as she sat on the bed in a room she can call her own.
“I’m just happy to have someplace to call home,” Amber said. “I’m sick of moving.”
Brandis Deitz and her children Amber, Avery, 10, and Brenon, 3, are the proud and excited owners of the new home at 301 N. Union St.
“Thank you to everybody involved – the high school, Habitat, all the donations,” Brandis Deitz said.
The three-bedroom, one-bath, 1,240-square-foot home was a project of the Mauston High School construction class, the second collaboration between the school and Habitat for Humanity of Juneau and Adams counties.
Habitat board President Jim Abbs said the new house in Mauston is the local Habitat’s 18th home; the 19th home was to be dedicated in Adams County on Thursday.
“It’s a stretch for us to build two houses a year in a community of only about 42,000,” Abbs said.
Abbs credited partnerships with the local schools and the overall community with the group’s success, and said everyone who has donated to the Habitat ReStore near Mauston shares credit for the accomplishment.
“If we didn’t have those donations from this community, we wouldn’t be able to do this,” Abbs said.
The dedication ceremony Wednesday included visits from officials with Habitat and the high school, area contractors and businesses who helped complete the project, as well as a few neighbors – including George Pierce, who built his house across the street in 1956.
Pierce and his wife Dorothy still live in the house today.
“So I’ve been looking at things across this street for a long time,” he said.
The old house that once occupied the lot where the Deitz’s home now sits wasn’t much to look at in 1956, Pierce said, and it didn’t improve with age. He likes the new view from his front door.
“It didn’t hurt it a bit,” he said.
Families chosen for Habitat homes must meet stringent criteria because Habitat homes aren’t free.
“They’re paying for it,” Abbs said. “They have a mortgage.”
Brandis Deitz will repay an interest-free 20- or 25-year mortgage – the final term is still up in the air – with monthly payments that include insurance and property taxes, just as an ordinary bank loan requires.
“I make enough money to make a house payment; I just didn’t have the credit,” said Deitz, who’s a phlebotomist at Mile Bluff Medical Center in Mauston, where she’s been employed for 15 years.
The Deitz’s moved into their new home about 10 days before the dedication Wednesday. They moved from rented space in an old farmhouse converted to apartments in the New Lisbon area.
Brandis Deitz said she’s been on the receiving end of “awesome” acts of kindness, big and small, and cited a new bed as one example. She said she had lots of old but serviceable furniture, but badly needed a bed she couldn’t afford. But she got the bed on special terms from Mauston Home Furniture & Appliances — terms that let her have it immediately.
Some of the other area businesses who supported the project include The Bank of Mauston, BMO Bank, Rick’s Drywall, BTU Management, Affordable Heating & Electric, Hamm Brothers Excavating and Dependable Concrete.
Adults who take over Habitat homes must each contribute at least 250 hours to the project, either by working on the home or volunteering elsewhere for Habitat. Brandis Seitz estimated her hours at between 250 and 300, which included helping out at the ReStore and painting the new home’s interior.
“The girls helped paint their rooms, too,” Brandis Deitz said.
And to hear Avery Deitz tell it, the work was well worth it.
“I don’t like it,” she said. “I love it!”