A new house being built in Iowa City will not only give a family a new home, but also will honor a local businesswoman for her commitments to the community.
The Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity recently broke ground on their 10th Women Build Home, a project the organization uses to recognize a local, influential woman. This year’s build, in the 900 block of North Governor Street, was named for Katie Lammers, who co-runs remodeling company Lammers Construction Services with her husband, Dan.
“In general, we’re looking for women that have gone above and beyond in our community, whether that’s through their business or the work they’re currently doing or the work they did before they retired, but even outside of that, someone who is really connected to giving back through service. That’s definitely Katie,” Iowa Valley Development Director Tami Bonnett said. “Outside of just the business she is doing, she has given back to us for at least the past 15 years. She volunteers her own time as well as her expert carpenters’ time for our construction projects.”
The new home also will serve as a more secure housing option for an Iowa City family originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bonnett said. Iowa Valley will provide the home to husband and wife, Dieudonne Muanza and Martine Mbujibungi, and their three children, Antoine, Theresa and Charlaine.
Once complete, Bonnett said the family will be able to move from their two-bedroom apartment into the four-bedroom, two-bath home.
“Their plans are to continue to grow their family, so they are really limited on where they are currently living,” Bonnett said.
Iowa Valley has honored 10 women through the builds since 2011, although it had done other Women Builds before then, Bonnett said. In addition to providing a home for a family that needs one, the Women Builds are intended to help promote women in construction and skilled trade jobs, she said.
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“I think that was one of their main reasons for picking me,” Lammers said. “I asked them at the time, ‘Well, why me? I’m not anybody real important in Iowa City.’ … but they said ‘You’re the face of women in construction.’”
Lammers said she and her husband have worked to promote more women in construction through their company.
“I think it’s really important, especially with younger women, that they know they can do anything as well as a man,” she said.
Other Women Build honorees have included Dottie Ray in 2011, Jane McCune and Jackie Blank in 2012, Christine Grant in 2013, Jean Lloyd-Jones in 2014, Mary Palmberg in 2015, Pat Heiden in 2016, and Kazi Alward and Jan Down in 2017.
Lammers said Iowa Valley hopes to raise $50,000 for to support the North Governor Street build.
“We have our big fundraiser called Hammers and Hardhats in November, so we’ll get a big chunk of it there, but in the meantime we’re still hoping for more donations to come in,” Lammers said.
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