2012 Partner Family
Kyle Dahl, Madison Dahl, Samantha Thiele
Gus Johnson, Executive Director of WCHFH, Samantha Thiele and Kyle Dahl waving at Madison Dahl
Two Decorah brothers and their families will live next door to each other when Winneshiek County Habitat for Humanity (WCHFH) finishes building its 26th house. The house in progress on Division Street will belong to Kyle Dahl and Samantha Thiele along with their daughter Madison. Kyle’s brother Chris, his sister-in-law Vada, along with their two children live in the Habitat house built in 2012.
Kyle and Samantha are very excited about the opportunity to leave their apartment and live in a home of their own. “It was Chris and Vada who suggested we apply,” stated Kyle. There were other families who qualified, but the Family Selection Committee agreed that this family was the best choice. Kyle and Samantha were familiar with Habitat and its requirements since last year they had helped the Dahls provide the volunteer labor of 150 hours per each adult member of the partner family’s home. Habitat refers to this volunteer labor as “sweat equity.”
Both families said they are good friends so will have no trouble living next door to each other, but Chris thought the two small cousins, Azalya and Samantha, may have occasional spats. He stated, “They are like sisters and usually they get along very well, but sometimes they fight.”
Habitat’s mission is to provide housing for low-income families, but these families must have sufficient income to pay the 25-year interest free mortgage. Currently Samantha works as a teller at Fidelity Bank and Trust. She completed an A.A. degree in accounting from NICC. Kyle does seasonal work for Bruening Rock Products and in the winter he describes himself as, “ Mr. Mom.” Their three-year old daughter, Madison, has just begun attending pre-school at the Sunflower Child Care Center.
2011 Partner Family
Chris and Vada Dahl and their two children will soon celebrate a year in their new home at 1117 Division St in Decorah. Two years ago they applied to Winneshiek County Habitat for Humanity to qualify for the house to be built in 2011 and to their surprise, they were selected. One of the requirements for a partner family is to have a regular income and Chris works in Dining Services at Luther College. Vada is pursuing a degree in school counseling and is currently doing an internship at the Allamakee Community School District.
The family had been crowded into a small apartment and they had been looking for a house that they could afford. The two children, Azalya, age 3 and Zayden, age 1, had to share a small bedroom. “When one woke up, the other usually did, too,” stated Vada about their previous living situation. Since moving in, the couple also became married.
As a partner family, the Dahls willingly put in the 60% of the required 175 hours of physical labor on the house which is called "sweat equity." They had help from friends and family including his brother, Kyle Dahl, and Samantha Thiele, who are 2012’s Partner Family. Chris laughingly said that he now knows much more about construction.
The house is approximately 1,250 square feet with three bedrooms and one bathroom. The couple was able to select details like siding, shingles and paint color. They just moved into the house in time for the dedication which was held Sunday, December 11, 2011. “It feels unbelievable that we’re no longer in that tiny apartment. We absolutely love being in this house,” Chris stated when asked about the family’s first months in the house.