New homeowner Tanja Endries received the keys to her new house on Broadway Avenue in Killarney through the Habitat for Humanity home building program.

The official ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on Thursday morning with Tanja and her daughter, Lara, and son, Florian, surrounded by community members, business owners, build project volunteers, and Killarney’s Habitat for Humanity Board members.

Being part of the constructing of her home, from the ground up, was not a new concept to Endries. She participated in home construction back in Germany while growing up under the leadership of her father, who encouraged all his children to be involved in construction of their family home. “Being able to put a helping hand to my own house with the leadership of Irwin, it was amazing,” shares Endries.

For Project Manager, Irwin Buhler, this was the third Habitat home that he’s headed up.  He says with each home on the day of the official ribbon cutting, he’s found it is a time of overwhelming gratitude to his community for their support.

 “I’ve built a number of houses, both in Killarney and in Mexico, and when the owners take ownership of the house it’s a really good day!” shares Buhler. “It’s just joy, the payback for all the labor and it’s very rewarding.”

Community support came in a variety of ways, from folks dropping off bottles of water on a hot summer day, to bringing snacks and meals, to swinging a hammer, to helping install dry wall. 

“We were very fortunate to have about 6 to 8 volunteers who came on a regular basis to help build this house, and to have Tanja working alongside of us when she had time off was just a joy,” explains Buhler. “Being able to work together with her, knowing that she’s also building her own house, that’s also very rewarding.”

“I want to thank the community and all the volunteers,” he shares, “and the donors for all the support they have given this chapter of Habitat and hopefully we’ll be able to build more houses in Killarney.”

Fundraising Chair, Johanna Friesen, shares her gratitude for the community support as well. 

“This is a time in our community and in our world where we need a ‘win’ and this project is just a win-win-win, because you just see people coming together to create something so positive and such a beacon of hope for our community.  It’s such a nice thing to see; when we all give a little bit, it comes together to make a really great accomplishment and a great contribution to our community,” adds Friesen, “and a beautiful home!”

Friesen says the project started in early spring, waiting for the ground to thaw, and they worked through a hot, dry summer, through into a beautiful fall season and now, “here we are in early winter with a finished project,” shares Friesen.  “What a beautiful Christmas present for this family!  Yes, it’s an exciting day to be able to pass on the keys and see them have an exciting Christmas in their new home!”

“We just want to say congratulations to our new homeowner Tanja and we’re excited for her in her new homeowner journey and excited for her as our partner, as her mortgage payments will go towards the next home for our next family,” adds Friesen. “We just want to echo once again, the sentiments that have been shared today that we’re just so grateful for our community, for the support of our sponsors, our suppliers, our tradespeople, our volunteers.  We can’t do what we do without them, and we are just so grateful and so we take time today to acknowledge them and to celebrate together!”

“I want to thank everyone once again, for any way they’ve helped, with helping with the material, to keeping us fed and for all the support I got,” shares new homeowner, Tanja Endries.