News   |   Rates   |   Calculators   |   Community   |   Locations
About Us
Locations
History of Community First
Media Center
Annual Reports
News
The Credit Union Difference
Become a Member
Career Center
Community
Community Calendar
Fox Cities Marathon
Board of Directors
Awards & Recognition
Scholarships
Contact Us
Financial Literacy
Employee Center
ABA Routing Number

How can we help you?

Quick Links

Checking & Savings
Mortgage & Home Equity
Loans & Credit Cards
Auto Buying Service
Investments & Insurance
Become a Member
Community Focus
Ask Us A Question:
Home About UsMedia CenterNews

Community First helps Habitat ‘Rock the Block’

Neighborhoods get boost from CFCU, members and volunteers

Wednesday, September 21, 2016
 

Upon retiring a decade ago, Fred and Bonnie Ebbesen looked for something meaningful to do with their extra time.
Since then, the Clayton residents have been part of the Senior Crew with the Greater Fox Cities Habitat for Humanity. And, as long-time Community First members, Fred and Bonnie are thrilled that CFCU has been a strong supporter of Habitat, including its Rock the Block neighborhood revitalization initiative.
Rewarding volunteerism
“It’s made our retirement a lot more fulfilling to be able to help others,” Bonnie said. “Personally for me I’ve been learning a lot of new skills. I never planned to do construction in retirement but it’s been very rewarding. Learning, being out and active, helping others – just seems to fit all the things I hold dear.”
In mid-September, the Ebbesen’s and other Habitat Senior Crew members helped guide more than 550 volunteers as the local Habitat chapter tackled its third Rock the Block initiative in Menasha.
“It’s a way for us to give back,” said Fred Ebbesen, who enjoys putting his handyman skills to good use in helping others. “We’ve had a pretty good life and feel blessed.”
With the support of many sponsors, including Community First, Habitat started its Rock the Block initiative in Appleton last year and, in May, targeted a Neenah neighborhood during the second Rock the Block effort.
Targeted neighborhood
The week-long Menasha Rock the Block involved 31 projects in the targeted neighborhood, including 20 owner-occupied homes, one rental and 10 community projects.
“Our primary focus is owner-occupied projects,” said Ryan Roth, Habitat’s community development manager. “We do exterior repairs up to $3,000. The homeowner pays for that through a zero interest deferred loan that they don’t have to pay back until they sell their home. We don’t charge labor due to the volunteers so it’s very affordable.”
As a nonprofit, Habitat also is able to purchase construction materials – such as windows, doors and siding – at favorable rates. If a project is difficult for the Senior Crew and volunteers, Habitat works with subcontractors who provide preferred pricing.
 “So, we can do an extensive amount of work,” Roth said. “We’ve replaced windows on an entire home for under $3,000.” One Menasha home received a new roof. “Her roof has been leaking for three years,” Roth said. “She has mold growing inside her upstairs and we’re going to come in and take care of that critical issue this week.”
Another Menasha project involved some repairs to a leaky roof and installation of handrails for a 91-year-old World War II veteran.
First-time Habitat volunteers Terri Reinke and Erin Ponschock of Community First’s business services department were thrilled to help paint trim around the front door, fix sagging porch railings and install six new basement windows around the foundation of an older home. “I learned to use a power drill and drilled in four screws in one of the basement windows,” said Reinke. “We had a great time.”
Homeowner appreciation
“It’s been pretty awesome – this means a lot to me,” said homeowner Rose Hall, a single mother who assisted Senior Crew and volunteers with the work on her home. “I was surprised by the number of people that showed up.”
A few blocks away, CFCU’s Pa Xiong and Kathy Fandrey pitched in to perform a variety of jobs, including painting, assisting with landscaping and tearing off a front porch.
“I would love to do this again,” said Pa. “It was nice to see the homeowners get involved and give them that extra hand. I got to experience using a nail gun and a power saw for the first time.”
Mary, who has lived in the home for 37 years was thrilled to get two new windows in her front porch, new front steps to replace rotting wooden steps and repairs to her back doors. “It looks so nice,” said Mary, who is also a Community First member. “Without Habitat and the volunteers, I couldn’t afford it otherwise.”
Nearby, CFCU’s Beth Davis was helping at the home of a disabled man, including caulking some drafty window frames. The next day, CFCU colleagues Marty Thurber and Tim Barthel helped paint the entire exterior of another home that had received new windows.
“I was aware that Habitat built new homes but I didn’t know they had other programs helping homeowners do this,” said homeowner Julie Luedtke, whose home has a new paint job and energy efficient windows. “It’s such a blessing. The volunteers literally saved me thousands of dollars.”
CFCU praised
Roth said Community First’s three-year funding pledge would also assist in construction of two new homes and other home repair projects in the same neighborhood over the next couple years.
He shared a letter received from a Jefferson Park neighbor about the initiative that Roth feels helps describe the impact from a resident’s perspective. It read:
Dear Habitat for Humanity,
Thank you for the lift that you gave to the Jefferson Park neighborhood. We are an older neighborhood, historic and unique. Some of our houses are tired and in need of ‘love’ and that’s what you gave during the second week of September. We sincerely hope you visit us again. Thanks again for your generous boost to our neighborhood. Pam and Gary
“This work is possible thanks in large part to the generous support from Community First Credit Union and their fine employees who have helped improve the neighborhoods during Rock the Block events,” Roth said.
Putting Community First
“I discovered that Community First really does put the community first, especially when it comes to volunteerism,” said Jodi Isom, Habitat’s volunteer services manager. “They help us build and rehab homes, they have given money and provided so many volunteers to help us that it’s just amazing.
“It is the American dream to own a home, and with Community First helping Habitat for Humanity, we’re achieving that goal here in the Fox Cities,” Jodi said. “All the work we do takes thousands and thousands of volunteers. We’re so grateful when we have partners like Community First.”
CFCU’s Pa Xiong hopes that other member-owners will be inspired to volunteer for future Rock the Block efforts planned for 2017 and beyond. “I felt so appreciated with the great people, attitude and environment,” she said. “I loved it when the kids (from a nearby school) came over and sang to us during our lunch break – that truly made my day.”
Back in May, more than a dozen CFCU volunteers helped in a week-long Rock the Block in Neenah.
“I absolutely feel like Rock the Block has instilled greater pride in our neighborhood,” said homeowner Lisa Dauntes a couple months later. “It was a way that we were able to meet new people and talk with neighbors we hadn't previously met. We definitely feel more comfortable in our home and less stress with homeownership. It has really has had a lasting positive effect.”

print this page
tell a friend
Resize the font:
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Community First helps Habitat ‘Rock the Block’
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
New Bergstrom-Mahler exhibit features neon, plasma sculptures
Friday, May 6, 2016
Gov. Walker visits CFCU’s first school branch
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Teen’s nonprofit Music Mission hits all the right chords
Monday, March 21, 2016
Three FCCCU $1,000 scholarship recipients selected
Sunday, March 20, 2016
Credit Union CEO keeps it personal
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Community First sponsors two scholarship opportunities for 2016 graduates
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Brent Jensen honored for SBA business lending
Monday, November 16, 2015
Community First names two new financial advisors
Monday, November 2, 2015
Waupaca chiropractor 2015 RUBY Award winner
Monday, October 19, 2015
Community First breaks ground on new home office/branch
Monday, October 12, 2015
Community First helps its member/owners
Thursday, October 1, 2015
Community First Achieves 7th Straight Top 10 U.S. Credit Union Ranking
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
25th Marathon Weekend a Walk in the Park
Friday, June 5, 2015
Community First hires new financial advisor
Friday, May 15, 2015
Community First CU opening Kimberly branch May 18
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Fund created to support family in trail shooting tragedy
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Community First CU announces promotions, new hires
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Members raise nearly $5,800 during ‘Santa Cause’ event
Monday, September 22, 2014
CFCU grateful for participants, sponsors, volunteers and community support
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Community First Credit Union completes merger of Oshkosh Central CU
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
CFCU volunteers, Rebuilding Together team up for Paula
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Memorial Day Services, Parades Honor Fallen Soldiers
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
‘Cuisine for a Cause’ nets $125,500 for Rebuilding Together Fox Valley
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
CFCU initiatives, member/owner donations make for brighter holidays
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Giving Thanks/Business Leader Build marks 20 years of Habitat success
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Fox Valley Memory Project: Creating a Dementia-Friendly Community
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Prestigious Fox Cities Chamber awards won by CFCU leaders
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Credit Unions: a socially responsible financial cooperative of member/owners
Monday, September 23, 2013
Community First Fox Cities Marathon a huge success
Monday, August 5, 2013
Online Banking upgrade, mobility features praised
Monday, July 22, 2013
‘Shopping for Scholarships’ boost plans for childhood cancer survivors
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Community First receives Corporate Citizen/Leadership award
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Shall We Dance fundraiser buoys key nonprofit agency
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Operation Broadcast Hope raises over $5,100 for tornado recovery efforts
Monday, May 20, 2013
Great Partners: Over 100 attend CFCU appreciation dinner for student-run branches
Friday, May 17, 2013
CFCU volunteers recognized for Meals on Wheels assistance
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Rebuilding Together Project Day 2013 a resounding success
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Earn-A-Bike program seeks to lift the homeless, impoverished
Friday, April 19, 2013
Community First CU challenge grant raises over $20,000 for Hatten Stadium project
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Community First CU recognized for blood drives
Thursday, March 21, 2013
CFCU rolls over FCCU in Bowl For Kids’ Sake challenge
Monday, March 11, 2013
Waupaca food pantry benefits from ‘novel’ approach
Friday, March 1, 2013
Community First enjoys ‘excellent’ 2012
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Community First volunteers take the plunge for Special Olympics
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Community First’s mascot steals the show at Gamblers’ Teddy Bear Toss
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Cuisine for a Cause wows
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Community First installs life-saving devices
Site Search:   Home    |    Contact Us    |    Site Map    |    Privacy Policy
Community First Credit Union   P.O. Box 1487  Appleton, WI    54912-1487 920.830.7200    1.866.273.2328
Web Design & Content Management System by Cambium Group, LLC