This past weekend I emceed the "Harvest For Humanity" breakfast at the Holiday Inn, a fundraiser for the Habitat for Humanity Chapter of West Central Minnesota. It's time for me to come clean....I was not always the biggest fan of Habitat For Humanity. Don't get me wrong...their goal of providing decent, affordable housing for low income people is admirable, and I especially like the "sweat equity" aspect where the recipients have to put time and effort into the project. In 1994 I visited a 30-home build on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota and met ex-president Jimmy Carter, which was cool. But when I moved to Willmar in 1998, we lived next door to two habitat homes and had a lot of problems with one of the families. The police were there constantly, kids were being arrested, and eventually the bank foreclosed on the house and they were gone after 10 years of turmoil. But that situation has settled down, and since that time I've ridden my bike 500 miles to raise money for the organization and help them whenever I can. I guess a person has to realize Habitat does the best they can to find the best families for their homes, and once they are in, they are subject to the same problems any other family runs into. That was certainly the case with my troubled (and troublesome) neighbors. The latest home in Willmar was built with the help of the Ridgewater College Carpentry Class and the new owners, the Robert Lopez Family, look like a success story in the making. Robert spoke at the breakfast and displayed a great deal of humility, gratitude and sense of humour. You can't help but feel good for them.
I hope the Lopez family and everyone else had a good time this past Halloween. I had more kids come to my door than in recent years. I guess maybe because I'm getting older and my kids are now out of the house, but I really enjoy seeing the youngsters come to the door in their cute outfits. A lot of smaller children have recently moved into my neighborhood, putting a fresh face on things. The weather was great, unlike 20 years ago when the Halloween Blizzard hit. I was living here but my son Mike was only 2 months old, too young to go trick or treating. I think I took my son Tony out for a little bit but he wasn't even 3 years old yet. The glow of the Twins winning the World Series was soon cooled under 20 inches of snow.