Work on Habitat house beginning
Single dad Gatluak Jerweng wants to give his kids something that he hasn’t had for years: a stable and happy home.
And thanks to a partnership between two Owatonna businesses and Two Rivers Habitat for Humanity and the Kottke family of Owatonna, Jerweng’s dream is about six months from reality.
Groundbreaking ceremonies were held last week on the site of Jerweng’s future Habitat house located 720 Linn Ave. S.W. in Owatonna, and excavation was slated to begin Monday (April 13).
“We’re extremely pleased to be part of this project,” said Mike Schwartz, CEO of Daikin Applied. With one plant in Owatonna and two in Faribault, the company manufactures heating and cooling equipment for commercial and industrial facilities.
Daikin Applied employs about 1,200 people in the area – many of whom will help build the house that the company is helping to sponsor along with Climate By Design International of Owatonna.
“This is the first Habitat project that Daikin has fully sponsored,” said Schwartz, adding that the company is committed to being part of the community. “This is really walking the talk.”
Mike Peterson, Climate By Design International’s vice president of Sales Engineering, said his firm “is blessed to be able to impact the community in a unique way.”
Based in Owatonna, Climate by Design International designs and builds dehumidification and air-handling technology for use in ice arenas, hospital surgical suites, food processing facilities and other applications.
Like Daikin, Climate by Design’s employees will also be helping to build the house.
Together the two companies donated $100,000 for the home sponsorship, which will help fund the materials and labor needed to build the house. The Kottke family donated the land for the house.
At the groundbreaking ceremony, Kevin Worden of Two Rivers Habitat for Humanity said that a full home sponsorship is relatively unique and said he is grateful for the partnership with Daikin Applied and Climate by Design International.
Jerweng also said he is looking forward to working on the house. Like other Habitat home owners, he’ll put in the 200 hours of “sweat equity” required to get his name on the mortgage and title.
“With a house comes security and peace of mind,” Jerweng said in November after learning he and his family had been selected for a Habitat house. “My kids will thrive (in their own home).”
Photo: A contingent of Owatonna business leaders and community members recently gathered for a Habitat for Humanity groundbreaking ceremony at 720 Linn Ave. S.W. in Owatonna. Pictured from left are future Habitat home owner Gatluak Jerweng, Daikin Applied CEO Mike Schwartz and Climate by Design International Vice-President of Sales Engineering Mike Peterson.