Habitat for Humanity Dedicates 41st Home for Christmas

A beautiful thing happened in Sturgeon Bay on Dec. 20.

Despite the coldness of the day and the heavy, gray skies, people were beaming with joy, especially Jacob and Amanda Purdy and their five children – Jack, Ethan, Alexis, Alaina and Jordyn – because today they were moving into their new Door County Habitat for Humanity home, the 41st such home to be built in the county.

During a ribbon-cutting ceremony under darkening skies, Amanda Purdy spoke of the journey the family has made since first applying to become a Habitat partner family two and a half years ago and the difference this will make in all their lives, moving from an 1,100-square-foot mobile home where the three girls had to share a single bedroom to becoming owners of the largest home ever built by the organization and the first with a basement.

She thanked the volunteer builders for going the extra mile to finish the build so the family could be in their new home for Christmas, and said their extended family now includes “all the wonderful volunteers and staff of Habitat for Humanity.”

She also spoke of lessons their children learned in seeing volunteerism in action.

“Our family is closer than ever,” she said.

Being a partner family in a home build also requires 400 hours of “sweat equity” from the family. She said the children enjoyed helping out at Habitat’s ReStore so much that even when they had finished the 400 hours, the kids still wanted to volunteer.

Amanda also had words of advice for any other families who are thinking of becoming Habitat partners. The Purdys had applied four times to become partners.

“I didn’t think we would be approved,” she said. “This experience is one of the times I said, ‘Well, why can’t we?’”

She talked of putting in just one more degree of extra effort with the last application, with perseverance and a positive attitude.

“Do not let something stand in the way of what you want,” she said.

Jacob Purdy thanked his wife for taking the lead on making this happen and then embraced his children as tears rolled down his cheeks.

“It’s a very wonderful day,” he said.

“What a Christmas present,” said Chuck Stone, who served as construction supervisor on the project.

“This one has been a tough one, timewise, with a late start and winter build,” he said.

This year’s build was delayed by the selection process, and then when the Purdys were chosen, Stone said there was almost another month’s delay because all the area contractors were so busy.

“We were essentially two months behind,” Stone said. “We’ve done well. I can’t say more nice things about my volunteers. They’re dedicated. This last week when we were trying to get the house completed, I was here Saturday and Sunday. I didn’t call workdays, but I had people coming in to make sure it got done.”

Volunteer Don Ziegelbauer pointed out that with this 41st home, close to 100 children have had their lives changed through the homebuilding project.

“It’s a joy to work with all these people,” Stone said. “We don’t think it’s work. Sometimes we sweat and hurt, but it’s not really work. This is the largest house we’ve built and the first with a basement. We had big crews come in. It’s enjoyable to work together. It’s a family.”

Now Door County Habitat for Humanity begins work on finding its 42nd partner family for the coming year. Prospective homeowners are selected based on need, the ability to pay a mortgage and the willingness to put in sweat equity on their own house. For more information, visit

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