THE JEFFERSON AWARDS: Our March winners help turn houses into homes

Every month FOX47 features someone in our community who is making a difference and we honor them with a Jefferson Award. 

Our March winners are a group of volunteers at the Freeborn and Mower Counties ReStore which benefits Habitat for Humanity. 

There’s always work to be done at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Austin. 

"Check out anything that’s electrical as far as make sure that it works before we put it out on the floor," says Ted Drenth. 

"I clean the floors, check the furniture, I’ll shampoo some of the couches, furniture if need be," explains Thomas Houff. 

The ReStore sells all kinds of home goods from furniture to knick-knacks, and then it returns the profits back into Habitat for Humanity to help others in need obtain homes or improve their housing. 

"When you get to work you’re raising money for a real purpose," said Joshua Whalen, ReStore Manager. 

He leads a team of employees and volunteers — all there for different reasons, but to support the same cause. 

"I like helping in general, I’ve kind of been laid up disability-wise, so the things I can do I do do," said Houff. "Give back where I can."

"Well the thing is, that there aren’t a lot of people that necessarily have it as well as others and therefore it’s kind of just a good thing to do," said Drenth. 

Volunteer Elizabeth Rech is there because she recently found out she’ll soon be the recipient of a donated house. 

"It’s a treasure," said Rech. 

After a couple bought a house just for the land, they’re donating the house so Elizabeth and her son have a house to call home. 

"Really because the process of recycling items and then being able to reuse them is kind of how I got the house too."

With dozens of donations coming into the ReStore every day, these volunteers stay busy. 

"They’re lifting and they’re cleaning and they’re helping people and they’re happy to be here for no money," said Whalen. 

The ReStore is open Wednesday-Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Donations are accepted Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

It’s located at 1415 1st Ave SW in Austin.

If you know someone who’s also making a difference, you can nominate hem for a Jefferson Award here.

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