NEENAH, Wis. (WFRV) – A local family is able to celebrate the holidays in their new home this season, all thanks to the support of community leaders and the Fox Cities Habitat for Humanity.

For Wednesday’s dedication event, local leaders say the day was full of excitement. “[We] brought some employees out to help work on the home, which was a lot of fun,” said Luke Benrud, owner of Dura-Fibre and 2021 Leader Build Co-Chair. “And great to meet the family. What an honor to be a part of the program and for them to get into their new home right before the holidays – very excited.”

This is the first home the family has owned, having rented places in the past. “[The new home] is something that we never had and then, especially, it’s like a first home so it’s pretty exciting,” explained Juan Ornelas Jr.

The family says they love to play outside and are most excited to finally have a yard of their own. “[The kids] are happy. They’re already making plans for their new rooms,” added Ornelas Jr. “The wife is happy too.”

If it wasn’t for a push from a relative, the Ornelas family wouldn’t be where they were today. “We never knew about [the home-dedication through Habitat for Humanity] but my wife’s sister-in-law lives up here and she told us ‘Just give it a try’ because she has a Habitat home too,” explained Ornelas Jr. “The people are really helpful. The program changes people’s lives.”

A release says the home dedication was made possible through the Ornelas family’s hard work and the support of community leaders who sponsored and helped build the home.

“Everybody should have a nice warm home to celebrate the holidays in, so [today is] special,” said Benrud.

Below is the list of leaders that participated in the Leader Build 2021:

  • Paul Northway, American National Bank
  • Luke Benrud, Dura-Fibre
  • Mark and Diane Eimmerman
  • Kevin Beauchamp, Galloway Company
  • Charlie and Beverly Goff
  • Coreen Dicus-Johnson, Network Health
  • Mike & Lydie Pfefferle, Pfefferle Companies (in memoriam)
  • Rob and Kim Underhill
  • Mark and Mary Loper

“It’s such a cool experience. It’s something that a lot of us take for granted – that we all have a nice warm place, especially this time of year, to live. But a lot of people don’t have that luxury. So to be a part of helping people achieve that goal and to see them enjoy their new home – it seems extra special when there’s little kids involved. It’s so cool to see them go in the home and they like to show off their new bedroom,” explained Benrud.

For more information on the Fox Cities Habitat for Humanity, click here.