Meet our Volunteers

Amy hasling

Amy has been a quite the advocate for FFAHFH in her work at Otter Tail Power.

Last year she arranged for a donated installation of a Cold Climate Heat Pump at the Battle Lake, MN home we rehabbed.

For the new home we are about to begin construction on she has helped coordinate a donation of another Cold Climate Heat Pump, LED light fixtures, Smart Thermostats, and LED light bulbs.

Amy initiated these conversations to see how OTP can partner with us.

We want to say thank you to Amy for her advocacy and thoughtfulness for FFAHFH!

  1. Tell us about you and your family and your work at OTP. I grew up in the lakes area and am proud to call it my home. My husband Jason and I have been married for 16 years and we live near Maplewood State Park with our two children Brock, 15 years old, and Elisse, 12 years old. We enjoy the outdoors and spend much of our time fishing, cruising on the pontoon, camping, hunting, and four-wheeling. I have worked at Otter Tail Power Company since 2016 and really enjoy my current role as the Market Planning Project Specialist/Coordinator where I assist in the implementation of our residential Conservation Improvement Programs.

  2. Do you volunteer/support other organizations in the area/community? What are they and how do you do that? I serve as Committee Chair on a Credit Union Supervisory Committee, and I volunteer when I can with Relay for Life and Ruby’s Pantry. In 2020, I organized two drive-thru food drives to collect nonperishable food and cash donations for two Minnesota communities. I also assisted with a drive-thru benefit to offer thanks to our veterans in the Fergus Falls community, collecting thank you cards and monetary donations for the Veterans Home. In one of my past positions, I worked with the Volunteer Services Department at a large healthcare facility, so I know firsthand how valuable volunteers' time and talents are to an organization. Thank you, volunteers, for making the dreams of local families come true!

  3. Why do you choose to advocate and help out FFA Habitat for Humanity? Tell us about how you were involved with the decision of getting a heat pump to Cassie in Battle Lake. Over the years I have found myself in a role that allows me to help those in need and Otter Tail Power has assisted with previous Habitat for Humanity projects in its service area. So, it was easy to choose to get involved when this project came to our attention and we could coordinate a Cold-Climate Heat Pump (CCHP) installation for the Battle Lake remodel project. CCHPs achieve high levels of heating efficiency, lowering winter heating bills, and double as a cooling system during the summer season. This equipment pairs well with Habitat for Humanity’s commitment to build modest homes with efficient building methods. Habitat and the wonderful volunteers are a blessing to our community!

Henry Peterson

A bit about Henry:

  1. I was in education for 35 years, mainly working with students with learning disabilities in the Adrian, MN school system. I also coached wrestling for 36 years. My wife, Mary Jane, and I began spending summers seasonally in 2004 at our lake place on Stalker Lake near Battle Lake, MN. We now live there.

  2. Tell us about getting involved at FFAHFH. It was through work with First Lutheran Men’s Fellowship that I found out about Habitat for Humanity. We were contacted in 2019 to help remodel a Habitat home in Battle Lake, MN. We had several individuals helping during the winter and then in the spring COVID hit and we weren’t helping for a while. Our group helped construct the garage. I did much of the trim work in the house and installing doors.

  3. Other comments. It is great to see the project come to a conclusion and a family was able to buy the home in the Fall of 2020. I learned a lot from the others working as well as the site construction managers Jeff and Chuck and also Stan and Paul from Habitat.

rud wasson

Rud has supported Habitat in several ways. He has helped on the build sites as a construction volunteer. Rud has also been an advocate and coordinator to get his church, Bethlehem Lutheran, involved. He is also a liaison and advocate for Habitat to the Vedeen Trust, which has given several grants to Habitat in recent years. Thank you Rud for your support of Habitat and all the other organizations you help in the Fergus Falls area!

About Rud: I moved to Fergus Falls with my family almost 40 years ago, and retired from the clinic in 2000. I’ve had more time for volunteering and being involved since then.

Volunteering: Volunteering at my church, the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center and other places has been high on my list of things to do.

Why Habitat? I’ve given time and money to Habitat over the years because of my long standing feeling of the good they do. Winston Churchill said “we make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” I wholeheartedly support that philosophy. We have been so blessed by this community, we need to give back.

Marilyn Paulson

Marilyn is a consistent build volunteer in the summer when she "summers" here in MN from Florida. She always has a positive attitude and a willingness to learn and do any task needed to be done. We enjoy having Marilyn on site and are thankful for her service to our organization! Thank you Marilyn!

1. Tell us about yourself: My husband Darryl and I live in Palm Harbor, Florida but spend 4 months of each year on Dead Lake in Dent, MN. I can’t be on vacation that long so need to do some kind of service. I choose Fergus Habitat.

Marilyn and Gary bending rebar

2. Volunteerism: I worked for a few years for the VA Clinic in Fergus Falls, but I wanted to do work that would keep me busy for a full day since I have to drive 23 miles to get to Fergus to volunteer. I found out about Habitat and decided to try it. I had previously volunteered in Florida.

Dave, Marilyn, and Doug framing

3. Why Habitat? I think Habitat does great work and the crew here in Fergus have been wonderful to work with. They are very patient with those of us who have no great skills but are willing to do anything we can. It’s a great group to work with.

dick oftedahl

What a contribution Dick has made over the years with Habitat. This last summer he was a critical part to the Battle Lake home renovation that we recently sold to the Schrock Family. Thank you Dick for all your support!

About Dick: My wife is Wanda and we have 3 children, Melissa, Craig, and Eric. We have 8 grandchildren and 2 great granddaughters.

basement flooring

Volunteering: In the community I have been involved in Kiwanis, the hospital board, chamber of commerce, church, MN Pharmacy Association, and Habitat for Humanity.

summer 2020 - battle lake renovation

Why Habitat? I became active in Habitat in 2004 when we moved to the Lakes Area. I have always been associated with groups that help people. It was very easy to become involved and our First Lutheran men’s group was doing projects. It is important that we give back to our communities. Habitat is a great organization that really gets involved.

habitat homeowner megan butenas

About Megan: I have lived in Fergus Falls for about 4 years. My son, Frank, is a 3rd grader at Cleveland Elementary. I currently work for the State Farm agent in Pelican Rapids and I am finishing my bachelor’s degree in business administration, online, from MSUM.

Cutting rafters on her house

Volunteering: I have been a blood donor ever since I was old enough to donate. When I lived in Texas I volunteered several years for the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program sorting and distributing toys during the holidays. Since 2018 I have helped Habitat with anything I can - from writing testimonials to working on the build site.

Putting up a wall

Megan's Habitat Experience: For those of you who do not know, my son and I were chosen as the Partner Family for the 2018 build. To say that Habitat changed our lives would be an understatement and we owe this organization more than I could ever repay. I continue to support Habitat because I want to help other families succeed the same way we have. Volunteering with Habitat is also very enjoyable. There are always new things to learn and new friends to make

jesse thorstad

Jesse has been an active member of the Public Relations committee for a while now. His enthusiasm, creativity, and digital skills have been very helpful for FFAHFH to share its message. Thank you for doing your part to improve our affiliate Jesse!

About Jesse: I'm originally from Underwood, and have been a teacher and Technology Specialist for Fergus Falls Public Schools for almost 30 years. My wife Jill and I have 5 grown children. I also operate a part-time business creating virtual tours of businesses and homes for sale.

Volunteering: I've played music at my church for the past 25+ years, and have been a nearly year-round Special Olympics coach for 10 years. I'm also the founder of the Fergus Falls Mowing Club, which has spent the last three summers mowing yards for people in need.

Why Habitat?: Everyone needs a home, and being a homeowner gives people an important sense of belonging to the community. My involvement is miniscule compared to the volunteers who work at the building sites, but I'm happy to use my technical expertise to help publicize the organization!

john macfarlane

John has been a supporter of Habitat for several years. You can find him out on the Habitat build sites helping out. As a member of Federated Church in Fergus Falls, he has also joined the church when they send a group to volunteer. John is an advocate for Habitat in the community. Thank you John for all the ways you support FFAHFH!

About John:

I was born in Hallock, MN, grew up on a farm northwest of the community, earned a degree in electrical engineering from the University of North Dakota and went to work for Otter Tail Power. In 1978 my spouse Eunice and I and our three sons moved to Fergus, we have been a part of the community since then.

john enjoying sheetrocking

Volunteering: Early in my life I was presented with the notion that if we are going to occupy space on the planet we have an obligation to help make the journey easier for others by, as we are able, sharing time, abilities and resources. It made sense and most of my life I’ve been volunteering for one thing or another. Currently, in addition to Habitat, from time to time we’re involved with like minded people in efforts of Federated Church, the Salvation Army, Rotary and United Way.

Why Habitat?: Fergus Falls Area Habitat for Humanity is of special interest. It is local, progress can be seen, there are a lot of opportunities to help, results are permanent, basic needs are served and folks truly benefit. In addition I’m impressed with Stan and Paul and their dedication and use of resources to accomplish the task at hand. (and of course the Chair of the Board of Directors)

kayla norman

About Kayla

Born and raised in the Fergus Falls area, I’ve settled just outside my hometown with my family. My husband, Tyson, and I have been been married for 4 years. We have a son, Odin, who’s 1 1/2, our dogs Duke & Dixie, and plenty of feathered friends in the yard.

laying down insulation


I’ve worked at Bank of the West for 7 years in Fergus Falls as a Relationship banker. Bank of the West offers its employees opportunities to volunteer in their community, which is how I first became involved with Habitat for Humanity. Those early experiences brought me back year after year. And after a few of those years I found myself wanting to be more involved than just the building process.

the cabinet team!

Why Habitat?

I currently serve on the PR committee with Habitat. I find it so rewarding to be able to come together with other volunteers of all levels of experience and ages to help someone’s dream of owning a home come true, knowing I’m making a difference in that person's life, one swing of a hammer at a time (even when I miss!).

Through Habitat I’ve built homes and new friendships that I’m forever grateful for. Plus I forever get to point out the homes we’ve built and say “Yup, I helped build that!” And there's nothing better.

Thank you Thursday Del Barringer

When you think of Fergus Falls Area Habitat for Humanity you should think of Del Barringer. Del has been helping since the beginning, close to 30 years! We love him on the build site - always quick with a smile and a joke. Del hit the 90 mark this year and is still contributing at the construction sites. He is a man to look up to and respect. Thank you Del for ALL you have done with Habitat over the years!

1. About Del: I spent two years in the Army from 1952-1954. Then I used my GI Bill to attend NDSCS. I am a father of four, 3 boys and a girl. I was married to Marjorie in 1959. She passed away 6 years ago. I turned 90 years old in late April of 2020. I worked in the heating and air conditioning business as an installer. Most recently I worked at Hanson’s Plumbing and Heating from 1980-1995.

2. Volunteering around the community: I help at LRHC Community Gardens from May-Sept. I also help 1 day a week at The Welcome House. I help once a month at Ruby’s Pantry. I attend that Nazarene Church and am part of a small group there that meets once a week.

3. Why Habitat? My motivation to help at Habitat is because of their mission to build affordable homes for people who need it. I believe in their mission. I also enjoy it because of my familiarity with construction. I have helped at Habitat since “we were building with stones”, since the very beginning. I was part of the original “steering committee”. I have also been part of the building and site committee. My specialty for the homes was installing the heating and AC ducting. Now I help in any other ways that I can.

denny echelberger

Denny has become a "regular" out on the build site these days. A great guy to have around. We enjoy Denny's sense of humor, problem-solving skills, and work ethic. The "regulars" like Denny are truly the main "motor" for our builds. Thank you Denny for all of your efforts out on the builds the last few years!

about denny

I am retired from OTP after 36 yrs. I am a life-long resident of FF. My wife Lu and I have been married for 41 yrs and have two grown girls.

Where Denny volunteers: I volunteer at the FF Food Shelf, the Red Cross as a driver for the LRHC, Meals on Wheels and for activities through Federated Church.

why habitat?

I volunteer for Habitat for Humanity because I enjoy doing building projects and it gives me an opportunity to gain knowledge and insight in how to do things at home. It is also fun and rewarding to meet other volunteers and hear their stories.

gary vipond

1. About Gary -

My wife (Kris) and I have been married for over 25 years. We have 2 grown daughters (Jenn Tilma who is a nurse living with her husband Brock in Millbank, SD and Steph who is a student attending NDSCS in Wahpeton, ND). I worked in the packaging industry in Sibley Iowa for over 28 years. After our girls graduated from High School, Kris and I decided to make career changes and move back to the Battle Lake area, where we have vacationed each summer for several years.

Gary and his wife, Kris

2. Vector Windows - I work for Vector Windows in Fergus Falls. Vector offers all of its employees a unique benefit where they can volunteer their time at a local charity, non-profit or other qualifying organization and get their full pay for the day from Vector. It is a great way to get people involved in organizations that need help and at the same time, complete the work during regular work hours and still get paid. How cool is that?

group effort - gary in front

3. Why Habitat? - My dad was a carpenter and was a volunteer for Habitat after he retired. That is how I first heard about Habitat and thought it was a worthwhile program where I might be able to offer a little help. With Vector being tied to the construction industry, it seemed like a good fit once I moved back to the area. Vector has also been supportive of Habitat by organizing work teams and donating or offering special pricing so that Habitat can be successful.

sharon stevens

Thank you to Sharon Stevens a "regular" at our build sites and Family Selection Committee volunteer. We are grateful for you Sharon!

sharon framing

About Sharon: I am retired. In my professional life I was a Medical Technologist for 45 years. The last 33 years I was the chemistry supervisor in the laboratory at Lake Region Hospital.

Volunteerism in the Community: As of this summer, I became a member of the Family Selection Committee. Prior to this pandemic, I was an active volunteer at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church and the Fergus Falls Senior Center where I am also on the Board of Directors.

painting crew!

Why Habitat?: I became involved with Habitat a few years back when the Minnesota Catholic Daughters Habitat for Humanity grant was awarded to the Fergus Falls Affiliate and have volunteered on the last two builds. It is so rewarding to be able to help families achieve their dream of owning their own home and know that it can be life changing for them. I also enjoy the camaraderie of the other volunteers and am inspired by their dedication and thankful for their patience in teaching new tasks.

Jamie rodriguez

Jamie brings great energy and enthusiasm to our Board of Directors and Family Selection and Services Committee. She has also been a build volunteer. We are grateful for Jamie and her involvement at Habitat!

Jamie building window headers at the 2018 women's build event

About Jamie: I live in Fergus Falls with my husband and kids. I am a Social Worker and am employed with MAHUBE-OTWA Community Action Partnership Inc. as the Employment Caseworker. My favorite things are gourmet coffee, exploring nature, traveling, spending time with friends and family, and serving others.

About Volunteering: I started volunteering on the Family Selection Committee with FF Area Habitat for Humanity about two years ago and then became a board member a little over a year ago. I love every minute of it.

Why Habitat?: I believe in the power of supporting pathways towards upward mobility for low income and disenfranchised individuals and families. Habitat for Humanity does just that with its Home Ownership program. I am grateful to be a part of this mission to serve in this capacity.

grant marlenee

Meet volunteer extraordinaire, Grant Marlenee. Grant helps in a wide variety of ways. He uses his pickup and trailer to move materials, has organized our tools, trailer, and storage units, worked on the build sites, helped move us out of the Fir Ave. warehouse, and is on our Build Committee. We are thankful for your dedication to Habitat Grant!

A little about Grant: I'm retired, still get along with my first wife Peggy after 45 years together.

Grant's volunteer experience: I've been volunteering most of my life, from helping with flood control, serving on dive rescue teams and serving as a national referee for Olympic Tae Kwon Do. I also help out the Mowing club some weeks.

Why Habitat? I wanted to do something that would keep me active, so I called Stan at Habitat just as they were getting started on the Lydia build. Habitat has a great, easy-going group and I'm looking forward to getting started on the next build. In the meantime I've been trying to organize tools and supplies.

dave schneeberger

For several years Dave has helped Habitat in a variety of ways. He serves on a committee, is a Board Member, and helps out at the build sites. Thank you Dave!

Dave with the trinity lutheran work group

About Dave: I am recently retired from Bank of the West and am enjoying this new chapter in our lives immensely. I am appreciating the flexibility it provides on a daily basis allowing me to try a new woodworking hobby, kayaking, travelling and spending time with our four grandchildren.

On Volunteering: In addition to being on the Habitat board, I currently serve as chairperson of the Finance and Fundraising Committee, have also participated on several of the home builds over the years and really enjoy working on the build sites during the construction process.

Why Habitat?: I chose to support FF Habitat following a Chamber Ambassador visit where I learned a lot about the organization from Stan. It was apparent from the start that he was all in for the mission and it was an organization I felt a need to be more involved in. It didn't take long to make a final decision once I was given the opportunity to join the board and the finance and fundraising committee. It has been a very positive and rewarding experience to help local families move into their own home and I have really enjoyed being directly involved in building those homes and turning their dreams into reality.

Pastor doug dent

My name is Doug Dent and I serve as pastor at Federated Church in Fergus Falls, a congregation that is active in its support for Habitat.

pastor doug preaching

Two summers ago I worked on the Habitat House, almost from start to finish (and not every day). It was a wonderful experience to work alongside the home owner and all the terrific volunteers! I even learned some valuable new skills.

framing 2018 habitat home

I support Habitat's mission to build strong communities by providing shelter for families.

Thank You Thursday Concordia College - Moorhead Habitat Chapter and faculty advisor Dr. Biebighauser

Cobbers support our mission in Fergus Falls. Thank you!

Dr. Biebighauser: Our campus chapter will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year. We've come to Fergus Falls/Battle Lake the last three school years. We've really enjoyed partnering with your affiliate and we're glad that we can help out neighboring communities as well as traveling across the country and world.

As for me personally, I've been on 11 spring break trips, starting in 2009, and I became Concordia's Habitat advisor in 2012. My full-time job is teaching math. I'm married and have three kids, and I try to follow Jesus as best as I can. Habitat is one way I can do that -- I can put my faith into action to build relationships, homes, and communities.

missy hexum

Thank you Thursday is Missy Hexum. She has been a great Habitat advocate, Board member, and Committee Member over the years. Thank you for what you do for Habitat Missy!

About Missy: I am a VP/Wealth Advisor at Bell Investments. I live in rural Underwood where my husband John and I are raising triplet daughters. For the majority of my life, I’ve lived in the lakes area and enjoy all of the things that go along with living here.

Past volunteerism: I have been a volunteer in a few different capacities over the past 20 years. My most recent board position was as Summerfest President and was a board member for 3 years. I have also volunteered through United Way and the prior Fergus Falls Area Jaycees over the years.

Why you choose to support FFAHFH: During a Chamber Ambassador visit, Stan Carignan, Executive Director, presented information on the Fergus Falls Area Habitat for Humanity. His passion for the mission was contagious and after another visit with Stan, I applied for a Board position. Habitat for Humanity helps provide a partner family with a safe place to call home. This is a local mission helping local families. While our continuous goal is to help more families every year, the impact a home for each of the partner family is huge and am happy to be a part of it. Thank you to all of volunteers and partners.

gail brennan

About Gail: I have been retired for 4 years from working in the schools with Special Ed Coop 935 as an occupational therapy assistant. My husband Kevin and I have been married for 45 years and have lived in Fergus Falls since 1986. We have four children Naomi, Heide, Trina and Trevor, two son-in-laws Dan and Tim and six grandchildren.

look at that painting form!

Volunteering: I have been a volunteer for the Fergus Falls Habitat for Humanity for 4 years, serving on the Selection Committee with a wonderful and caring group of people. I have helped with painting, cleaning, landscaping as well as other tasks when and where I can.

Gail and the paint crew

Why You Support Habitat: I get my energy from helping others in need and working with people. It is a basic need for each person in our community to have a home. Giving and helping build a home for a family who would otherwise not have one is very rewarding to me. Fergus Falls is a wonderful community and has been very good to me and my family. It is important to me to give back to this community.