BOARD OF DIRECTORS

NEAL J. VALORZ

Occupation: 

Attorney at Sipple, Hansen, Emerson, Schumacher, Klutman & Valorz

Family info:

Wife Megan, 2 daughters and a son

Why do you believe in Habitat’s mission?

Owning a home is part of the American Dream and something that many strive for. Contributing to Habitat of Humanity of Columbus, NE, allows for me to share in the dream homeownership with local deserving families that might not otherwise have the opportunity to realize it.

What creates a home in your mind?

Owning a home is part of the American Dream and something that many strive for. Contributing to Habitat of Humanity of Columbus, NE, allows for me to share in the dream homeownership with local deserving families that might not otherwise have the opportunity to realize it.

The combination of an environment of love, comfort, security, and sanctuary.

CHRIS WISEHART

Occupation: 

Realtor with Century 21 Realty Team

Family info:

Wife Darcy and 2 daughters

How long you’ve been in Columbus, what brought you here?

Moved to Columbus in 1994 due to Darcy’s job at Columbus Community Hospital.

Why do you believe in Habitat’s mission?

As a Realtor and a Christian, I believe everyone deserves a clean & comfortable place to call home

What creates a home in your mind?

A safe place where everyone feels comfortable and at ease to enjoy life and look forward to returning to at the end of the day.

LISA SAENZ

I am a Realtor at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Premier Real Estate. My husband, Luke, and I have been married for 10 years and we have 3 beautiful, bouncing boys— Madden, 12, Liam, 8 and Luke, 6.

We are new to Columbus, and we are new to the state of Nebraska, in fact. We moved here almost one year ago from Wichita, KS – Rock Chalk Jayhawk, Go KU! Luke was offered a position with Great Plains State Bank and so, we decided to go on this adventure, and so far it has been wonderful.

Becoming a part of Habitat for Humanity was something that seemed very natural to me. Decent housing is a challenge that is not just reserved for larger cities, but it is also found right here in our backyards.Habitat’s ability to bring awareness and solutions to the situation provides a generous helping hand.

DR. KURT KAPELS​

I am a Physician. My wife-Morgan Kapels and I are expecting first child December 2019. Morgan and I are originally from the Columbus area, and both have family and many friends in the area. As we both advanced in our professional careers, we knew that we wanted to live in a smaller community where we could raise a family and become involved.

We each found fantastic opportunities here in Columbus to continue our careers and knew it was the perfect time and place for us to return home.I believe that each person has a duty to help one another, especially the least fortunate among us. Habitat for Humanity provides another avenue to serve our community and a tangible way to improve the lives of our selected families immediately.

Habitat for Humanity is a blessing because it allows us to help someone create a new house, in which they can live and grow and create a new future for themselves and their family. And it’s that family, and the love that comes with it, that helps to transform that house into a home.It’s a rewarding and humbling opportunity to be a part of.

MELANIE KNOEPFLE​

I am a Financial Consultant with Thrivent Financial. I’m married to Mike Slizoski and we have 1 child together. I have 3 step-children, 1 former foster daughter, and 6 grandchildren.

I moved here in 1995 to become the prosecutor for the City of Columbus after graduating from law school at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. I practiced law here for 19 years and then changed careers in 2014. While practicing law one of my secretaries was recently divorced, living with her parents and raising her daughter in less than an ideal situation even though she worked full time and was trying hard to support herself and her daughter.

I told her about Habitat, what little I knew of it, and she applied, and was awarded the habitat home that year! I helped on the home and was approached about becoming a board member while at the work site. As I’m much better at managerial work than physical labor, I decided I could use some of my gifts to help others in that way.

I’m currently the secretary of the board.A home is a place where a family can be secure and safe and happy. We are blessed to have an organization in our community that helps others in this manner and I’ve been blessed to be a part of it.

Bryan-Chochon

Bryan Chochon

Occupation:

CFO of Great Plains State Bank

Family info:

Unmarried

How long you’ve been in Columbus? What brought you here?

4 years, I grew up
here: graduating from Lakeview. I came back to work with family at the bank.

Why do you believe in Habitat’s mission?

Shelter is a need and having adequate housing is an obtainable goal in this country.

What creates a home in your mind? 

A safe haven: a place where you can go to be comfortable and feel safe

dorothy bybee

Occupation:

Vice-President of Patient Care Services/Chief Nursing Officer

Family info:

Married to Craig Bybee and have three children and six grandchildren who all live out of town.
We are from Oregon where we raised our children on a small sheep farm.

How long you’ve been in Columbus? What brought you here?

We have been in Columbus for almost three years.  My position at Columbus Community Hospital is what drew us to Columbus.

Why do you believe in Habitat’s mission?

The mission of Habitat for Humanity is very dear to my heart.  I had a friend years ago who was a single mother with three children, one with special needs.  Housing was always a challenge for her and she was constantly moving.  When she received a Habitat house, her whole world changed.  We saw it in how she looked, how she worked and how her kids behaved. The experience made a lasting impression on me.  Habitat does much more than simply provide a home, Habitat provides hope.

What creates a home in your mind? 

A home to me is wherever Craig is.  He is my rock and best friend.  We have lived all over the country and every place has been home because we were together. I hope that through Habitat I can help others find that home.

Jose Rodriguez

My name is Jose Rodriguez, and I am a deputy county attorney working for the Platte County Attorney’s Office here in Columbus, NE. My wife andI first moved to Columbus in January of 2016 when I accepted my current position as a deputy county attorney. I chose to become a member of theBoard of Director for Columbus Habitat for Humanity because I believe in the organization’s mission to provide safe and affordable housing for the people of our community. I have always thought that a home is more than just a place where a family lives; it’s a place where families can share memories, feel secure, learn from each other, and bond with each other. During my time serving on the Board, and while volunteering to help build homes, I’ve seen our community come together to invest many weekends over the course of the spring and summer months in order to provide families with safe and secure residences that they can lovingly call “Home.” I’m proud of this organizations, the families we serve, and the community that’s always willing to jump in and lend a helping hammer when needed.

Lynda Lemp

Occupation:

First Nebraska Bank, Columbus, Nebraska Vice President 10/1992 to present

Family info:

Married for 40 years to Rick, Grandmother of 6

How long you’ve been in Columbus? What brought you here?

I have lived and raised my family in the Columbus area all of my life.

Why do you believe in Habitat’s mission?

As a Christian, I believe that we need to provide shelter and help those who are in need from the abundance that God has blessed us with.

What creates a home in your mind? 

A home is a place of rest, safety, blessing and a gathering place for family and friends.

Lori Peters

Occupation:

Executive Director

Family info:

Married to Doug Peters and have four children ages 9-16.

Why do you believe in Habitat’s mission?

My favorite part of Habitat’s mission is giving people a hand up and not a hand out.  It is very rewarding to see someone succeed after working so hard.  The tangible evidence of how home ownership changes the life of a family for the better is awesome!

What creates a home in your mind? 

Home is a place of love, laughter and peace.

Miki Naylor

Occupation:

Executive Assistant at Pillen Family Farms

Family info:

Hubby of 38 years, Jeff Naylor. Children: Dr. Andy Naylor, Katie (Naylor) Parlane, Sara (Naylor) Becker, Megan Naylor

How long you’ve been in Columbus? What brought you here? 

I have lived in Columbus for 50 years now. I was just starting 3rd grade when my family moved here from Idaho in 1970, as my Dad was the first Theatre and Speech instructor at the new Platte College (n/k/a Central Community College). I met my hubby here, we married and raised our four children in Columbus. And now our family has grown to include in-law children and grandchildren – such a blessing!

Why do you believe in Habitat’s mission?

 I have always found the Habitat for Humanity program to be inspirational and heart-warming!  I believe EVERY PERSON should have a place to call “home”, that feels safe and provides security for themselves and their family.

What creates a home in your mind? 

While homes can look and feel different for every person, to me “home” is not only a physical location but also a sense of love, security, foundation, and belonging!

Chuck Keep

Occupation:

Corporate Accounting Supervisor at NPPD

Family info:

Wife Becky, a son Patrick (wife Madison) and daughter Ericka.

How long you’ve been in Columbus? What brought you here?

Moved to Columbus from Lincoln in 1997 to take an accounting position with NPPD.

Why do you believe in Habitat’s mission?

I believe everyone deserves to have a decent, clean, safe place to call “home.”

What creates a home in your mind? 

It’s more than just a shelter. It’s a place where one feels safe, secure, respected, and loved by the other family members and where memories are created that last a lifetime.

Jake Will

Occupation:

Engineering Supervisor – BD Medical

Family info:

Finance Courtney and son Walker

How long you’ve been in Columbus? What brought you here?

I came to Columbus to work at BD after finishing my engineering degree at UNL. Been here in Columbus for three years now.

Why do you believe in Habitat’s mission?

Shelter is such a basic human need. It really is the foundation of personal security and wellness. It also improves the community we live and work in.

What creates a home in your mind? 

A safe, comfortable place to spend time with family and loved ones.

Santiago Vasquez

Occupation:

District Registrar & Data Steward for Columbus Public Schools and Director of Bilingual Services for the Platte Valley Diversion Program/Juvenile Services. 

Family info:

I am married to Erika Vasquez and have 3 children.

How long you’ve been in Columbus? What brought you here?

I moved here from Texas with my parents as a child in 1996. I have since married and started my own family.

Why do you believe in Habitat’s mission?

I believe affordable housing is a must in order for families to have security and stability. I believe Habitat is providing people the opportunity to have all those things by fulfilling their dream of becoming a homebuyer, one house at a time.

What creates a home in your mind? 

I believe a home is a place where a family can gather and have the peace of mind knowing that it is safe, comfortable and one that you can call your own.

Danny Willets

Occupation:

Supervisor at Black Hills Energy

Family info:

Wife Teresa; she has 3 children Megan, Mitchell, and Mark. I have 3 children Art, Jace, and Faith. 2 dogs Sam and Charlie and cat Apple. I am employed by Black Hills Energy, Teresa is a nurse/MDS coordinator at Brookestone Acres. I was born and raised in Lexington, NE; Teresa is from Bemidji, MN. I am Retired military.

How long you’ve been in Columbus? What brought you here?

Since April 2016. Black Hills Energy purchased the company I was working for and they asked me to move here and fill the open Supervisor position. I had been in Fullerton (working in Albion) since 1995.

Why do you believe in Habitat’s mission?

Everyone needs help at some point in their life, we all have that time where we are experiencing hardships or difficulties and we just need that extra help to get us through the tough time. Home ownership can be difficult and expensive to obtain, especially now and in the Columbus area due to high demand. Habitat is an opportunity to give someone that help or assistance they need to be able to provide a home for their family that they most likely would not be able to provide otherwise. Those of us who are able to are obligated through our faith to help those in need, this is one of the avenues that we can meet that obligation.

What creates a home in your mind? 

A house is a structure, a home is an environment. Respect, loving environment, loving direction/correction/guidance, encouragement and support for one another. An environment where there are rules and guidelines but opinions are freely expressed (respectfully) and differences of opinions are allowed. Encompassed in all of this is a faith based belief that is used as a guide/tool for making decisions and interactions with one another.

Travis Hill

Occupation:

PMO Manager at NPPD

Family info:

Married 15 years. Wife Tara, Trey (16), Taya (13), Tynlee (11), Tristen (9)

How long you’ve been in Columbus? What brought you here?

We’ve moved to Columbus 3 times since 2005. Our roots are now firmly planted in Columbus. We are currently in “go” mode as we chase our kids around for all of their Lakeview Community School activities. We enjoy Columbus because it has everything we need and still provides us the opportunity to be out of the “hustle and bustle.”

Why do you believe in Habitat’s mission?

I believe in habitats Bible based mission because the organization seeks to glorify God, by serving His people. A safe and comfortable home lays a foundation for security and confidence. These homes provide more than a roof over someone’s head. They provide a launch pad to pursue fulfilling lives within our community.

What creates a home in your mind? 

Family is the cornerstone to any home. A structure that provides a safe and dependable atmosphere allows families the opportunity to build each other up, rather than being concerned about fixing issues. A strong family is what makes a fantastic home.

Trevor Hill

Occupation:

Safety & Quality Manager at Behlen Mfg Co.

Family info:

I met my wife through the military and chased her down to Columbus Ne and I have been here ever since! That was in 2011 and now we have 4 children and 2 dogs. My wife is a professor (Dr. Hill) and teaches Masters/Bachelor level nursing classes along with staying home with the kids. I am on the Safety and Quality team at Behlen Mfg, where I have worked the past 9 years. I have been in the Army Reserves for 13 years, in which I am a Warrant Officer. 7 more years to go!

How long you’ve been in Columbus? What brought you here?

See answer above.

Why do you believe in Habitat’s mission?

The Lord has blessed me beyond anything imaginable. Helping a family to feel safe, secure, and have a place to call home to make memories gives me joy. Serving the community and assisting in making this possible helps everyone involved. It also builds relationships which carry into the future. It only grows from there!

What creates a home in your mind? 

Having a family be together in one place that is safe, warm, and cozy. A place to make memories and a place to hide to take on tomorrows challenges!