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Habitat News

200th Senior Crew Spotlight – Wayne Ziebell

Senior Crew member Wayne Ziebell is “Mr. Waupaca” and has volunteered with Habitat since 2007. He is a Senior Crew member, a site leader, trainer for Habitat families at “Construction 101” and a spokesperson for Habitat through our Speakers Bureau.

Since retirement “Golf is Monday and Friday” said Wayne. “Habitat is every Wednesday – and days when Jodi calls.” The rest of the week is spent doing things around the house, helping out at his church, and spending time with his grandchildren.

Wayne was born on a farm near Waupaca and has lived in the region nearly his entire life. He spent his early school years at Crystal Lake Corners, a small rural school and then graduated from Waupaca High School in 1964.

“I joined the service to get some money for school (GI Bill) and decide what I wanted to do for a career. ‘The Army gave me a battery of tests and decided I was good with numbers.   I was trained as a payroll clerk and was stationed in Germany.”

Wayne served 33 months on active duty with the Army before being discharged to help his parents on the family farm. After spending the summer on the farm, Wayne decided this was not what he wanted to do the rest of his life. Wayne applied and got a job with Waupaca Foundry.

While Wayne was in the Army his parents had been scouting a companion for him.   “We used to go every week roller skating at the local rink. My parents had spotted Carol and said to her ‘You should meet our son when he gets back.’”

Wayne and Carol have been married 46 years with two kids and six grandkids who call Wayne “Papa”, “Gramp’s” and various other names. Wayne and Carol enjoy being with their children and grandchildren and have made 2 trips with them to Disney World.

Wayne does not have a college degree. To make up for this, he found that LaSalle University in Chicago offered an accounting certificate by correspondence.   For several years, and 256 lessons, all before the days of internet resources, Wayne completed the courses to get his certificate. Waupaca Foundry was a growing company and promoted from within. Wayne started out setting up a stock room, then worked in Industrial Engineering before transferring to the Accounting department.   Wayne worked in cost, accounts receivable and did some purchasing before becoming Accounts Payable Manager. Wayne was Manager of General Accounting when he retired.   During Wayne’s 38 years employment at Waupaca Foundry the company grew dramatically.

Wayne retired in 2006, to spend time with his best friend (Carol) and his children and grandchildren, and do some traveling. Since retirement Wayne and Carol have traveled to 15 different countries, which included 3 cruises. Wayne knew he wanted to do some volunteer work as the Lord had been very good to him over the years and was time to give something back. Wayne was Financial Director for the Waupaca County Thrivent Chapter and knew that Thrivent was a supporter of Habitat for Humanity.

Gus Lyons, a Real Estate Agent in Waupaca knew that Habitat was going to build a home in Waupaca in the spring of 2007. ‘I really think you ought to give it a try,” Gus told him.

Kevin Franz, Dick Maronek and Dave Leonard and the rest of the Senior Crew that he worked with in Waupaca really impressed him the first day that he volunteered. Everything was so well conducted that he decided after the first day to call Jodi to volunteer a couple of more times.

Wayne worked on the build over the next few months and got to be friends with David Leonard. “During a lunch break we were heckling each another and Kevin overheard the conversation, and Kevin said, ‘I think you should join the Senior Crew, as I think you will fit right in with the rest of the group’”.

Wayne said he would consider it and might call Jodi.

“Jodi is expecting your call,” Kevin Franz chimed in, “We have been talking about you as part of the Senior Crew. ”

Wayne has volunteered over 2,100 hours since that first day. He averages 85-100 miles round trip each time. “I do it because of the families we build with, the construction crew at Habitat and the people I volunteer with.   I get a real enjoyment out of it. Volunteering with Habitat can become very habit forming, and the Fox Cities affiliate is a great organization. The smiles on the new homeowner’s faces are great!”

Wayne enjoys most tasks with Habitat but his favorite is doing siding, least favorite is insulation, and he does not do painting. At break time Wayne can be seen enjoying his peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread.

Wayne has traveled to Slidell, LA with Habitat twice and went with a Habitat group to Guatemala in 2015 and is schedule to go again in 2016.   The trip to Guatemala in 2015 was a real pleasure. It was hard work but seeing the smiling faces when you helped with their home’s and smoke free stoves makes it all worth it. Watching the children play in the small yards was a real joy, and Wayne even got to kick a ball around with a young boy for a few minutes.

“I knew how to use a hammer, being raised on the farm and my father did some building, but most of the building skills I know I’ve learned at Habitat. The construction crew staff, and site leaders are great people and have been great mentors. “

Wayne and Carol are members of the “Golden Hammer Legacy Society” as well. “I want something to go to Habitat when I am gone. It is a great organization.”

“I really hope that we continue to remember to make the work fun as we expand. I will continue to volunteer as long as I can and enjoy it.”

“I have had a great family, good health and a great job. The Lord has been good to me.”


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