McPherson area Habitat for Humanity is building its first house in Marquette this summer.

McPherson area Habitat for Humanity is building its first house in Marquette this summer.

It will be the 26th home in McPherson County since the organization was chartered in 1992. Other locations have included McPherson, Lindsborg, Galva, Inman, Moundridge and Windom.

McPherson area Habitat for Humanity is part of a global, nonprofit housing organization that seeks to eliminate substandard housing locally and worldwide through constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes, along with other goals. After an application process, families selected by a board are expected to participate in the building process, pay a down payment, repay the cost of supplies through a zero-interest mortgage and pay insurance and taxes.

This time around, McPherson area Habitat for Humanity selected the Behanna family as the next homeowners. Angela, a nurse, is a single mother of four children: Joseph, 16, Amanda, 12, Riley, 10, and Gabby, 8.

"We don't have enough space right now," Angela said. "It will greatly benefit us in so many ways."

Their current home has a dirt cellar, which irritates the family's allergies. They also will have additional storage and room space. The children are most excited about having more bedrooms.

"It makes me glad I have this opportunity and I can do this for my kids," Angela said. "This will make it a lot easier on us to make a new start.”

That new start, she said, began with the Circles of McPherson County program. A coworker, who also is a Habitat for Humanity homeowner, recommended she participate in Circles, which helps families out of poverty. It also pointed her to the Habitat program.

“We’re just really excited it’s coming together, and we have this opportunity to help,” Angela said, adding she anticipates paying it forward. “I’m really grateful and appreciative of Marquette and McPherson. I think it’s a perfect place for us, and I’m glad we’re here.”

Wally Bunk of Marquette is on the board for the McPherson area Habitat for Humanity. His participation in the organization is part of the reason Marquette was considered for a build location.

Bunk said he already can tell the Marquette and surrounding communities will be supportive of this build. For example, a larger turnout came for the groundbreaking ceremony in June, and a number of churches already have signed up to help with food, drinks and labor.

“I think it’s really, really terrific,” he said. “I’ve become a believer in habitat. Of all the things I’m involved in, that’s my favorite thing to do. Wherever they build, I would urge the community to get behind it. It’s a very worthwhile organization. There’s a tremendous need for that.”

It also benefits the Marquette community by filling a new development on the west side of town, and keeping students in the school system.

“Marquette, like all small towns, is trying to be really aggressive in not only bringing people to the community, but keeping people in the community. That’s the challenge every small town has,” said Fred Bohnenblust, another board member of the McPherson area Habitat for Humanity. “It’s a great plus for the community to be able to retain that family and also provide for them a decent, affordable house to live in.”

If all goes as planned, the family will relocate to their new, 3-bedroom, ranch-style home in November. Blitz week, where area residents volunteer to construct the framework of the home, will be July 22-27. To help, contact 620-241-0886 for more information.

Bohnenblust is glad to help another family.

“She’s worked really hard at this,” he said of Angela. “She’s shown just this real desire to improve herself and her family’s situation. This will be a great improvement for her.

“It’s just part of our mission, that we feel like everyone should have a decent and affordable place to live. That’s what we’re helping her get into.”

Contact Jenae Pauls at and follow her on Twitter @PaulsSentinel