Habit for Humanity of Green County



Ours is a story of God revealing Himself to many people throughout Green County in strange and wonderful ways.

Seeds Planted for Habitat for Humanity Here

In 1984 after a devastating tornado ripped through Bameveld, Wisconsin and destroyed a church, and many homes and businesses, a group of volunteers from various churches in Green County rallied to help rebuild the destroyed church. Rev. Charlie Workman from Zwingli UCC in Monticello, and Rev. David Hunt from Peace UCC in Browntown were key leaders in organizing these volunteers who worked every weekend that summer under the direction of Rev. Phil Yeager from Dodgeville. A Browntown group also committed to help build five homes in the Blue River area as part of the recovery from a Grant County tornado that killed nine people in 1984. The Habitat bug bit this loyal group of volunteers that included, among others, Dave and Jean Hunt, Nancy and Jerry MacLeod and Oscar and Loraine Schumacher.

The Bameveld recovery efforts stimulated a group of five to dream about the possibilities of forming a Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Green County. These five dreamers included Rev. Charlie Workman, Rev. David Hunt, Rev. Edgar Guinther, retired pastor at Swiss UCC in New Glarus, Otto Graber, member of Washington Reformed UCC near Monticello, and James Brown from Union Presbyterian in Monroe.

Opportunity Revealed in Green County

What happend next seemed to be a miracle, Habitat for Humanity of Dane County decided to build in Monticello. The Dane County group worked with over ninety volunteers (many from Green County) to build a home for the Brad and Julie Mau family. This provided the impetus for a significant number to see the possibility of a Green County affiliate.

The first organizing meeting of the Green County group occurred in February 1991 with approximately 30 interested parties in attendance. It was decided to rotate meetings at churches throughout the county. March 7th was the organizing meeting with more than 25 people in attendance as the board formed with six members (Charles Workman, Jerry MacLeod, Oscar Schumacher, Chris Wellington, Nancy MacLeod, and Marlene Schmalbeck. They chose the name of Green County Habitat for Humanity, decided to begin work on a logo, formed committees, and got verbal agreement of seed monies from Episcopal Outreach Ministries - Diocese of Milwaukee.

On April 8th the officers of the fledgling organization were elected: Jerry MacLeod (president), Otto Graber (vice-president), Marilyn Freitag (now Marilyn Workman - treasurer), and Nancy MacLeod (secretary). Other board members included Rev. David Hunt, Oscar Schumacher, Marlene Schmalbeck, Rev. Charles Workman, Rose Stietz, Don Tupper, Chris Wellington, and Mark Gehred-O'Connell. Bylaws were adopted at this meeting. Beth Gehred -O'Connell accepted the challenge of writing and publishing the newsletter called Heart and Hammer. In June of 1991 Habitat for Humanity officially became affiliate #615 of Habitat for Humanity International and the fifteenth affiliate in the state.

The first official build for Green County offered many challenges. Plans to have the first home in Monroe were fraught with one disappointment after another. Then another wonderful gift appeared. Anchor Bank of Monroe gave HFHGC a free lot, and St. Clare Hospital donated a house to be moved onto it. Costs and complications in moving this house offered challenges, but in 1992 a wonderful home was dedicated for Jim and Lu Sandlin and their family.

Partner Family List Continues to Grow

Since 1992 the following families and homes have been added to the list of Green County Habitat for Humanity Homes.

Since our inception in 1991 there have been many dedicated volunteers who have stepped forward to lead the organization, to serve on committees, to assist with fund raising efforts and to swing a hammer or use a paintbrush at a work site. It is impossible to list them by name here. Likewise the number of Green County businesses and service organizations that have routinely responded to the call for help have been a significant boost to making these homes possible for our families. We would be lost without the churches that have chosen to partner with us and support us by finding volunteers and getting our message out for both volunteers and financial help. 

At times our road has been bumpy as we have experienced losses of key leaders. As we move forward, our challenge is to keep the legacy of our early founders alive. We continually seek individuals willing to dedicate resources in the form of time, effort, and/or money. We trust that God will continue to care for us as His gifts continue to be revealed to us in so many ways as we continue to attempt to make decent and affordable housing to those in need in Green County who are willing to commit to the expectations laid down in partnering with Habitat for Humanity. Please help us move forward.