HABITAT FOR HUMANITY WALL RAISING CEREMONY  in Big Lake for the Jeremy Iaquinto-Trisha Egan family. Jeremy and Dontay are in the doorway, Grandma is next, then daughters Erin, Arianna and Hailey, with mom Trisha looking on behind them. Pastor Terry Gryzbowski is in the pink shirt, next to them. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

A new home - and the family is reunited

Staff Writer
Jennifer Edwards
Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity held a  wall raising ceremony for a new house being constructed at 210 Powell Street last week through the Thrivent Financial Builds Three Rivers Build in Big Lake. 
The new house will become the home of Jeremy Iaquinto and Trisha Egan and their children, Dontay, Arianna, Erin Hailey and six-month old twins Brynn and Amaya.
Thanks to Thrivent Financial, Central Lutheran Church, the Elk River Lions Club, all of the golfers and volunteers from the Scramble for Habitat tournament, the City of Big Lake and other supporters, this family, currently living in two separate locations, will have a place of their own to call home.
In Central Minnesota  Habitat for Humanity says, over 40,000 people are stuck in unaffordable housing, causing a ripple effect that impacts every member of the community. 
“Here at CMHFH we seek to reduce that number one family, one home, one hour, one dollar, and one nail at-a-time,” said Board Member Wilbur Wilkens.
This house being built on Powell Street is one of three in the region being built in partnership with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans this summer.
Jeremy currently works as an assembler and Trisha stays home with their six-month old twins, Brynn and Amaya. 
The older children have big ideas about what they want to do when they grow up: Dontay, 15, would like to ne a paleontologist, Arianna, 12, wants to become a teacher or artist. Erin and Hailey want to be gymnasts.  
Jeremy and Trisha have put in hours of sweat equity and hope that this process will teach their kids to work hard for things in life. They will also have an interest-free mortgage to pay.
The children are excited to have more space and be able to invite friends over. Jeremy and Trisha are looking forward to being all together as a family in one house. 
The ceremony included an opening prayer from Pastor Terry Gryzbowski of Emmanuel Lutheran Church and a blessing from Jeremy’s employers, John and Karen Seefeldt, Krista Smith and Jerry Gudim. Financial Advisor Linda Mielke of Thrivent Financial said they were proud to partner with Habitat for Humanity.
Local contractors participating in the build include City Wide Insulation, JR Masonry, Moore’s Excavation, Oliver Engineering and Thermo Tech. Other local partners are the Crossing and Saron Lutheran Church.
The family  enjoys playing at the park, going to the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, swimming, going to their great grandpa’s and just being together as a family.
They greatly appreciate everyone who is helping them to become homeowners.
 “You don’t understand how much you are helping our family,” said Jeremy. “Thank you!”
Habitat for Humanity has built 79 homes in Central Minnesota. The majority are located in St. Cloud but besides the three in Big Lake, there are three in Elk River, two in Paynesville and one each in St. Joseph, Buffalo, Monticello and Annandale with two more to be completed yet this year. One of those will be in Big Lake and the other in Cold Spring.
Habitat for Humanity depends on volunteer help to accomplish their tasks. In 2011, 900 volunteers gave 11,000 hours of their time. In 2012, 750 volunteers donated 10,500 hours of assistance. In 2013, 551 volunteers gave 11,800 hours to building homes and hope for others.


NEW BIG LAKE BOUTIQUE OWNERS are Beth Koch, Shanna Romsdahl and Aadra Mielke.

FROM HOLLYHOCK FARM near Becker, Teresa Kukowski and her alpaca Francine have beautiful eyes and make beautiful garments from alpaca wool.

(L to R) Michelle Garcia and Steve Karel, two of the newest faces at the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, are looking forward to the opening of the Oak Savanna Learning Center in October. (Photo by Aleah Stenberg)

VERY KNOWLEDGEABLE Big Lake’s Knowledge Bowl Team made their very first trip to state last week and came home with sixth place medals. Team members are (from the left), Jake Dickinson, Jack Flicker, Peter Wallace, Tim Poffenberger and Jacob Block. The team is coached by Teacher Angela McCormack. (Submitted photo).