Heroes Among Us

Our volunteers are ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things. Starting in 2020, we have decided to start honoring our volunteers on a monthly basis. So let's congratulate our February Volunteer of the month!



Steve Steinhafel!!


Question~Why did you choose to volunteer at Habitat for Humanity of Waukesha County?

Steve~ After working in the home furnishings industry for over 40 years, I wanted to find something where I could give back using my experience to help others. I went on VolunteerMatch and the Habitat for Humanity ReStore was suggested as a possible fit for me. I also have a friend who volunteers at the ReStore in Wauwatosa, and he suggested I check it out. I chose the Waukesha ReStore and found the staff very welcoming, and fun to work with.

Question~What do you enjoy most about volunteering at the ReStore?

Steve~ First, the staff. From day one, they were very helpful, friendly and appreciative of me volunteering. In addition to that, it’s amazing to see what gets donated. It’s not just used items either. There are many new things that come in. I enjoy helping to get the items out onto the floor, and then answering questions and assisting people who want to make a purchase.

Question~What is the funniest/best thing that has happened while volunteering with Habitat?

Steve~ The best thing are the people who work for Habitat and ReStore. It’s a pleasure to work with the staff of Bob, Nate, Bruno, Tim, Liz and Diane as well as the other volunteers. CEO Mike also regularly visits the ReStore and makes sure to thank the volunteers for their time

Question~What have you learned while volunteering with us?

Steve~ I have learned about the mission of Habitat for Humanity and how the ReStore benefits that mission. I have also learned how to process and price the donated items, and where to locate them on the floor. If I'm unsure or have a question, the staff is always willing to assist.

Want to hear more stories of volunteers making a difference? Click on the links below and read about a few more of our exceptional volunteers.   Have these stories inspired you to want to become a volunteer?

Register now and join us!

2020 January Volunteer of the Month- Chris Marshall

Chris Marshall!!


Question~Why did you choose to volunteer at Habitat for Humanity of Waukesha County?

Chris~ I had wanted to get involved with Habitat doing (the Construction) Builds but the timing just never worked out. And then one of the volunteer coordinators contacted me and asked if maybe the ReStore would be a better fit. And it definitely was.

Question~What do you enjoy most about volunteering at the ReStore?

Chris~ The variety of work. I get to do anything from unloading the truck to testing the electronics to doing vignettes in the store and doing the cash register. At first, I was really nervous about the register but I am liking it now. I love talking to the customers and finding out they are going to do with their purchases. There are some very creative people who come into the store.

Question~What is the funniest/best thing that has happened while volunteering with Habitat?

Chris~ They had me testing light fixtures. They gave me the tester but probably assumed I knew more than I did about how to use it. I got a very brief explanation of what to do. I know absolutely nothing about electronics. So I am putting the wires in the tester and every once in awhile I would get a pop. And I would think ‘wow, people sure donate faulty stuff.’ At one point there was a pop that blew out a whole circuit. I went to someone and said I think I am doing something wrong. They informed me that I was not putting the wires in the tester properly and they were touching and shorting out. So I blew out a whole circuit and didn’t get fired from my volunteer job.

Question~What have you learned while volunteering with us?

Chris~ I never knew a lot about Habitat. It is just interesting to see how you go through the selection process for the people who are going to live in the houses. I did not realize that they are required to put in so many hours (volunteering). I also did not realize that the ReStore gets a lot of brand new items. I thought it was more like Goodwill or St. Vinnies, but that isn’t the case. There are a lot of new building materials. It’s amazing to see what all comes in from week to week.

I feel so appreciated volunteering at the ReStore. All the employees thank us when we leave each week. I like the flexibility of hours because I can’t always do the 10-2 or the 2-6. Sometimes I’ll have a free day and just pop in, and they can always put me to work. I am enjoying getting to know the employees and other volunteers. This has definitely been a great experience and I’m so happy to be volunteering here.

2018 Volunteer of the Year - Bob Beglinger

Habitat for Humanity of Waukesha County is proud to present Bob Beglinger with the 2018 Volunteer of the Year Award at our annual Housing Champions Award Luncheon.



Bob began volunteering in 2001 when his church, St. William Catholic Church, sponsored a Habitat home build. Bob had no prior home construction experience but signed up as a regular volunteer. He hasn't stopped volunteering since. He is now working on his 25th home build and volunteered over 5,000 hours of his time.


There a lot of reasons why Bob enjoys building homes with Habitat, but it starts with the work itself. "Taking something on at the beginning of the day, and seeing the progress at the end of the day, is very satisfying."


The mission of Habitat also aligns with Bob's values. He and his wife, Claire were able to buy their own home at an early age, and know how much impact that can have on a family.

"It provides stability. Particularly in regards to any kids, they're in the same school from year to year, they have a house to go home to."


Bob later served on Habitat's Board of Directors from 2008-2010. Right in the thick of the Great Recession, he helped guide Habitat through financially straining times and is now helping build eight homes in 2018.

"It's nothing short of amazing if you ask me. I'm constantly amazed how we've fostered that growth. You need people with drive, you need people with vision."


Bob also served as a volunteer construction crew leader before Habitat had construction staff. He was integral in getting homes off the ground, as a planner, builder, and volunteer leader.


As with many volunteers, Bob finds working with future homeowners building their own homes is an invaluable part of the process.

"One of the most rewarding parts of the privilege of working for Habitat, you get to know them, get to see their skills improve, see the pride and ownership of owning their own home."


Another aspect that keeps Bob coming back year after year is the volunteer community at Habitat.

"There are a lot of wonderful people. There have been some characters along the way too," Bob said, laughing.


And how does it feel to be a Housing Champion?

"I'm still amazed at that. When I think about the contributions of the people that have been named Housing Champions before, I'm certainly honored and humbled."


His secret to long-lasting volunteer success?

"I try to be helpful, that's all I can do. I enjoy it. Helping a family, giving them a hand up, that's valuable...A lot of them come into the process not believing it can happen. But they're certainly believers afterward."

2017 Volunteer of the Year - Jim Lawler

Jim Lawler:

2017 Volunteer of the Year

Jim's Story

My grandfather was a great carpenter and woodworker who built custom doors and windows. As a small child, I remember visiting him in the carpenter shop with a wood burning stove going and saw dust on the floor so thick that it was like walking in snow. I guess this woodworking attachment was instilled in me at an early age.


My first real job in high school was working in a family owned lumber yard. I enjoyed working there and used it as a stepping stone to get a job with a small home builder a couple years later. Back then we did everything from the foundation footings to roofing. Home construction has changed quite a bit since then, the tools and the material technology, not to mention all the new building codes.

My career path took me in a different direction after those years in construction but I never lost my affection for carpentry. Over the years I helped my family and friends reroof their houses, put on siding, install drywall, hang doors, and everything in-between. I took a class in cabinet building and over the years built a number woodworking projects in my garage and basement.

When my job took me to Nashville, Tennessee, I volunteered for a couple of Habitat for Humanity builds that my company sponsored. Working with the Crew Leaders, other volunteers, and homeowners got me attracted to doing more.

When retirement drew closer and closer, Habitat was in the back of my mind as a way to give back. My family and I have been fortunate in life and the Habitat concept of building homes for deserving families only made perfect sense. Personally helping to build a house makes you feel like you have accomplished something real and tangible. Unlike giving to some mammoth organization where you do not know where or how your assistance is being used, with Habitat you know exactly where and how your support affects another family on a local level. Working with volunteer groups is extremely rewarding. Being asked to become a Crew Leader, along with becoming a member of Construction and Safety Committees, fills me with a tremendous amount of self-worth and a desire to do more.

I particularly enjoy teaching or instructing volunteers with little or no construction experience. It is fun to see a volunteer's face after they learn something new and have that sense of accomplishment.

I cannot say enough about the other Habitat volunteers and staff that I have the honor to work with daily. This dedicated group of men and women really care about building a well-constructed house. Their attention to detail gives the impression as if they are building the house for themselves or a family member.

In my two short years of volunteering with Habitat of Waukesha I have already worked on nine houses! That is nine families who will probably become homeowners for the first time in their lives and families who will be able to call their new, well-built house "home."

This gives me a warm feeling that is infectious and, I hope, contagious. 

Volunteer - Earl Baumann - Construction / Crew Leader

Earl Baumann

Construction/Crew Leader

Earl Baumann began volunteering with Habitat in 2006. He worked with Megal Development for over 40 years as a real estate broker and manager of their construction department, while working part-time in a residential design business. These three components of real estate, construction, and design made Earl a perfect fit for Habitat, and he was looking to help us out. "Waukesha Habitat is a growing organization, and I felt my knowledge could be of help," he said. Earl, of course, ended up being a natural on the build site, and quickly ascended into a leadership role, guiding and training fellow regulars, business groups and community volunteers. He went above and beyond his role as volunteer, acting as volunteer construction manager until we hired one as full-time staff.


Earl's favorite parts of volunteering? The families, and the other volunteers. "Meeting the families that occupy these homes is most rewarding to me," said Earl. "I enjoy seeing the children who benefit from having a home to return to and feel safe. And the volunteers who build the homes- their hearts and attitudes are in the right place."


Earl volunteers three days a week almost every week, and his thousands of volunteer hours over the year has helped Habitat Waukesha County move from a house-a-year organization to one that will build six homes this year and will soon assist dozens of other families with home repair.


Want to be like Earl and become a volunteer?  Register to become a volunteer today!

Volunteer - Donald Pike - Construction / Crew Leader

Don accepts the United Way of Waukesha County’s Volunteer of the Year Award. Pike received a $500 check which he chose to donate to Habitat for HumanityDonald Pike

Construction/Crew Leader

Most Habitat for Humanity affiliates have a paid, full-time construction manager. For many years, Habitat for Humanity of Waukesha County did not. Instead, we relied on a group of 10-15 volunteer leaders (the "crew leaders," or as we affectionately call them, "the saints") to run our build site. Not only is Don Pike a member of the saints, but is a leader among those leaders.


Don began his volunteer work with Habitat in 2001. "My family and I have been blessed through the years," Don said. "So just before I retired I was looking for some way I could give back to others." Don had worked on several home construction projects while doing charity work with his church. He heard that Habitat was in need of volunteers, and decided it was the right fit for him. Don has since put in several thousand hours of volunteer work building 14 homes with Habitat, including almost 800 hours of service last year. This, on top of babysitting his young grandchildren several times a week.


Habitat builds three days a week for eight hours a day, and it is a very rare sight to not see Don on site for every minute of it. He arrives early to help plan the day out, and spends his off-time helping to make the actual plans for how the home will be built. When on site, he is meticulous in making sure the house is built correctly. Put simply, Habitat couldn't build as much as we do without him. Not only does he use his construction knowledge to physically build the house, but he uses his charm and kind attitude to help new volunteers integrate onto the build site and teach them how to build. From college students to a group of bank employees to individuals who have retired and want something to do, Don guides the hundreds of community volunteers who work on our site each year. This adds up to thousands of hours of additional volunteer work that is made possible by Don's contributions, and he is often listed as one of the best parts of volunteers' build experiences, keeping them coming back for more.


One of the most satisfying parts of the job for Don is being able to work side by side with Habitat homeowners and volunteers, getting to know them personally. "My favorite part of volunteer work is meeting so many great people, those we help and those who are volunteering," Don said. "At Habitat it is being able to do something I enjoy while helping a family in need get a home, plus getting to know them and working with such a great bunch of volunteers. What more could I ask for?"


Don has had a great impact on the Waukesha community and is the epitome of the mission guiding Habitat affiliates around the world: building homes, building hope, building community.


Want to be like Don and become a volunteer?  Register to become a volunteer today!